Do you ever wonder how your neighbor maintains a lush, green, perfectly-manicured lawn all summer long? It really isn’t that big of a mystery! The key is knowing how to treat your lawn for every stage of summer: early, mid, and late.
In the early months of summer (May and early June), you should focus on setting your lawn up for success for the remainder of the summer. Be sure to feed your lawn regularly during this time to make it more resilient to the droughts and high temperatures that will soon follow. Additionally, at this time you need to take preventative measures against weeds and grubs for those methods to be most effective (includes insecticides and weed control sprays). You will also want to set the blade a little higher on your mower to keep the grass tall. Tallgrass grows deeper roots, which allows the grass to soak up more water from the ground during the hottest months of the year. Finally, this may go against what you have learned for much of your life, but you should also leave the grass clippings where they are after you mow; they will break down and provide food for your lawn.
Once mid-summer hits (late June through mid-August), you will need to primarily focus on two aspects of summer lawn maintenance: watering deeply and feeding your lawn. It’s a smart idea to check how much you are watering your lawn with accuracy during this time. To do this, drive a screwdriver or small trowel into your lawn about 4-6 inches deep. Then, water your lawn as you normally would and check how much of that hole has been filled up. Ideally, the hole should be completely full. If it isn’t, keep watering! In addition to water, your lawn also needs food. You should feed your lawn with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium-rich lawn food.
As the summer comes to a close (late August through September), it is important to not slack on your lawn care. The temperatures are likely to still be pretty high, so you should move your watering time to the early morning, between 6 and 10 a.m, to reduce evaporation. At this point in the summer, it is likely that your mower blade has started to dull, so be sure to sharpen it yourself or take it to a professional. A dull blade will tear the grass instead of giving it a clean-cut, which not only looks ragged but also causes the grass to lose more moisture. If there are still weeds in your yard, it will be most effective and least destructive to your grass to use a spot treatment to eliminate weeds.