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5 Solid Ways to Keep Your Lawn Green This Summer

The summertime marks a season of fun in the sun with family and friends gathering to enjoy being together outdoors, playing games, eating delicious food and all of this on nature’s verdure carpet. If your grassy knolls are looking a bit parched or scorched, don’t fret. It is possible to have a lush green lawn throughout the summer, and here are five solid ways to do that:

Raise the Level of Your Mower

The temptation is high to mow the grass very short in the summertime. The thinking may be that you do not have to cut as often if you do so. However, you set yourself up for extra work anyway. Cutting grass very short promotes growth requiring more water and chemicals to maintain a healthy green cover. Conversely, longer grass generates deeper root growth producing a stronger blanket of green that is healthier but with less effort on your part. This produces a lawn that is better able to withstand drought conditions.

Alternate your cutting pattern to keep the grass straws from pressing in the same direction. Cutting also removes nutrients from the grass that need to be replaced if you want to achieve robust growth. Plan to fertilize at the start of spring and then repeating about every four to five weeks. Your local garden shop should have special mixes of lawn fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. It also helps to make sure your mower blades are sharp. Dull cutting blades rip and beat up the blades of grass promoting disease and encouraging pests. If you need to, you can obtain the services of a professional blade sharpener.

The Importance of Watering

Watering is essential to keep your lawn green, but you can pace yourself. The tendency in summer is to think the grass needs to be kept moist. A wet lawn cannot be cut without compacting the soil, which in turn suffocates the roots. Constant moisture promotes disease from rotting. Instead, water less frequently but more deeply. Think irrigation; about an inch of water each week is a good rule of thumb. Shallow watering ends up creating shorter root growth making grasses susceptible to disease and drought. Avoid watering at night because your grass needs to dry out some before the morning dew.

A new lawn installation requires more frequent repeat watering at regular intervals until the grass is properly rooted. This is especially critical in the first 10 days following installation. You want to be sure the soil beneath the turf is sufficiently saturated. If your sprinkler system is not performing to your needs, consider having them checked by a professional to avoid being the hose monitor for the duration of the season.

Aerating the Soil

In addition to water, your lawn needs enough air to properly grow and stay green. If your lawn soil is not sandy enough, the roots cannot get enough air, which could result in stunted growth. Using a simple digging fork, you can punch holes throughout the lawn and go back over them with coarse sand to fill the holes. This promotes water flow while allowing oxygen to reach the roots. If your lawn has developed thatch from dead roots and other debris, clear these away. You can scarify the lawn, which is simply loosening the soil with a cultivator to allow more breathing space.

You can use a manual scarifier to disturb weeds and prevent their growth. For more tenacious weeds like dandelions and daisies, use a pronged weeder to get as much of the root out as you can. You can cut down regrowth this way. Should you find, despite your efforts, you are overcome with weed infestation, consider applying an herbicide. Where weeds have overcome the lawn, you might consider restructuring the entire soil and covering it over with rolled turf.

Fertilizer Helps a Lawn Thrive

The judicious application of fertilizer will give your lawn a boost. If you are starting out with a new lawn or new rolled lawn, apply a lawn starter fertilizer following planting or installation. After that, you can lightly apply a premium fertilizer about every two weeks until maturity. Be careful, though, as using too much fertilizer will hasten growth faster than you would like, calling for more frequent watering, pesticides and mowing. You don’t want to create a monster lawn.

Excessive fertilizing is a risk to the environment. If you are unsure of the right fertilizer for your soil, you can send a sample off to the local lab for analysis to determine its contents. Having an idea of the levels of nitrogen, salts, phosphorous or other elements in your soil can help you decide on the exact formulation you will need to effectively fertilize your lawn.

Supplement Your Lawn with Iron

Do you ever wonder how the golf courses are able to achieve a deep, almost blue-green color to their lovely courses? Professional landscapers as well as golf-course grounds keepers add an iron supplement in the spring or when the daytime climate remains temperate. Iron will not affect your lawn’s speed of growth, so adding it will not have you altering your schedule of mowing and watering. Use iron with caution as it can stain the concrete.

To maintain an even green shade, pull the weeds by hand. Be careful to avoid using non-selective herbicides. The kind of spray you would apply directly to the weeds can kill the grass, too, leaving you with those ugly brown spots. Remove the dead grass when overseeding. Rake the soil, spread the seeds, then rake soil over the seeds. These areas you will need to water daily for at least the first two weeks to assist germination. Alternatively, you can install sod pieces instead. Just be sure to remove the deadened areas first.

With consistent care and resisting the desire to overdo things, these solid tips on how to maintain a green lawn throughout the summer should see you through the season with success. You can have that oasis in the middle of a scorcher with everyone envious and wondering just how you manage it.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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