Get Green provides lawns with the nutrients necessary to maintain good health and color. But as we approach hot and potentially dry summer weather, there are some things that you, as a homeowner, should be doing — or avoiding doing — to help keep your lawn green in the summer months. A green lawn is a healthy lawn!
In order to help you to get the most from your lawn nutrition program we are providing, I only want to talk about two cultural practices: mowing and watering. These are the two main things homeowners through the summer, and both are crucial to maintaining a lush, green lawn.
Proper Watering for a Green Lawn
While we generally will receive enough rainfall to keep the lawn green through the spring months, that will typically change in the summer. If you are looking to keep your lawn green through these dry spells, you need to prepare to start watering now while we still have pretty good color and moisture in the soil. Do not wait until the lawn browns to water or it will be too late as it is very difficult to green up a brown lawn with water from the tap.
To keep good color, your lawn will need 1.5 inches of rain weekly. The best way to determine how much water your lawn is getting is with an inexpensive rain gauge from the hardware store. It is best to water your lawn early in the morning before heat becomes an issue. The lawn will best respond to deep infrequent watering. It is better to water the lawn .75” twice a week than .25 inches 5 times a week; this will train the roots to go deeper to get their water. Deeper roots will handle the stresses of summer much better than shallow roots, the result of frequent, light waterings.
You can read more about optimal watering from this Purdue Extension article.
Optimize Your Mowing
If you have a lawn that you are not able to water, then there are some mowing practices you can follow to help your lawn through the stresses of summer.
The most important thing to do is to mow high. When I say high, I mean as high as your mower will go. (I mow mine at 4” during the summer). Taller grass helps shade the soil, keeping it cooler and maximizing what moisture the soil gets. If we go through an extended dry spell and the lawn still browns out, but you are seeing a little growth, do not mow it until there is a cool-off or imminent rain.
Skipping mowing in the summer may actually be the best thing you can do for your lawn! Mowing exacerbates the stress your grass is already going through from hot, dry weather. It is ok if the lawn is a little shaggy in the summer, and it will recover much more quickly and effectively when you start getting cooler, wet weather in the fall.
I hope that we continue to see regular rains and some mild temperatures this summer. If we don’t, this advice will help keep your lawn as healthy and green as possible through whatever weather we end up with. Get those hoses and sprinklers prepped, raise your mower deck, and don’t be afraid to let your mower rest for two, three, or even four weeks if the weather calls for it.
Your lawn will thank you for it!