The summer heat can take its toll on your lawn, especially when it’s accompanied by a lack of rain. If you want to avoid a brown, patchy lawn, there are a few steps you can take to help give your lawn the best chance to stay green and healthy.
It all begins with your mowing habits. Summer droughts and long periods without rain can cause stress to your lawn. If you mow your lawn too short, or with a dull blade, additional stress is caused and will make it difficult for the grass to recover once cooler temperatures and rain return. Limit your mowing as much as possible and make a conscious effort to mow your grass on a higher setting.
Keeping your lawn at a height of 3 to 4 ½ inches will help discourage weed growth and gives it extra shading, which helps conserve what little moisture there is in the soil. When it is time to mow, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass height and always allow the clippings to remain in the grass.
Make sure your blade is sharp. We generally recommend sharpening your mower blade twice a season for most homes in our area; once at the beginning and once in the middle of the mowing season. If you have a larger lawn than most, you will need to sharpen the blade more frequently.
Reduce foot traffic on your lawn as much as possible to avoid doing additional damage to the stressed lawn. If footprints remain when walking across your lawn, that’s a sure sign your lawn is stressed and in need of some water.
Summer is not the ideal time to be adding herbicides or pesticides to your lawn. These can all cause stress to lawns even during peak times. Unless you’re an experienced lawn care professional, we would also recommend reducing or eliminating your fertilizer applications until cooler temperatures and moisture return.
Of course, the best thing you can do for your lawn during a drought is to give it a good watering. If you’re not under any kind of watering restriction in your community, follow these simple steps to give your lawn the best treatment:
- Water slow and low. You want to simulate the natural rain. A deep watering allows the water to soak in and helps improve your turf’s root system. Generally you’ll only need ½ to ¾ inches of water once or twice a week.
- Make sure your system is watering evenly. Areas that are getting too wet or dry will provide signs, so adjust accordingly.
- Watering early in the morning will allow the grass to dry and minimize the risk for turf disease.
Following these tips will help give your lawn the best chance at surviving a long summer drought and heat wave with minimal damage. Of course, if you don’t have the time or expertise, you can call in the professionals at Hively and we’ll be happy to help you achieve the best looking lawn on the block. Simply give us a call at 717-292-5696 to get started. Your greater York, PA area neighbors already have!