Summer Lawn Care Tips – This Old House

Keeping your lawn healthy and lush in the summertime takes work, but it isn’t impossible. Once you know the basics, it’s easy to maintain and enjoy. Read on to learn our top summer lawn care tips.

To keep your lawn healthy all year round, This Old House Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional lawn care company like TruGreen. This industry leader offers five different annual plans tailored to different homeowners’ needs. To get a free quote, call 888-535-3193, or fill out this simple form.

Early summer

Fertilize your warm season grass

Fertilizing in the early summer can give you warm season grass, which grows best at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a boost to grow thick and healthy. Fertilizing at the right time can make your grass more heat- and drought-resistant.

However, if you apply too much, you run the risk of burning your lawn. Grass already gets stressed during these months, so maintain caution when applying it. Use a fertilizer formulated specially for summer feedings, and follow the instructions exactly.

If you have cool season grass, do not fertilize in the summer. The best time to fertilize cool season grass is in the spring and the fall.

Mow high

Mow the grass high to encourage strong root growth and heat tolerance. Taller grass provides more shade, keeping weeds from germinating and competing with your grass. Start by sharpening your mower blades. Dull blades will tear and shred your grass instead of giving it a clean cut, making the grass more susceptible to losing moisture. Mower blades typically stay sharp through 10 hours of mowing.

Set your blades higher in the summer months, and cut the heights according to grass type. Warm season grasses should be cut to 2-3 inches tall, while cool season grasses should be mowed at 3-4 inches. As a general rule, try not to cut more than ⅓ of the grass blade each time you mow.

When you mow, be sure to grasscycle, or leave the clippings on the lawn. They will decompose and help feed your grass.

Treat for pests

Insects may come out in full force in the summer—just keep in mind that not all of them will hurt your lawn. But if you see bugs like Japanese beetles, June bugs, and European chafers that will munch on your grass, causing wilting and bare patches, you’ll want to act. If left untreated, the Japanese beetles will feed on your grass and lay eggs, which will hatch into grubs and start feasting on your grass.

Head this off at the pass by applying a preventative grub control product. Use according to directions.

Control weeds

If you act fast in the summer, you can kill established weeds before they can bloom and spread seeds. Use a targeted post-emergent herbicide designed to eliminate broadleaf weeds but leave your grass unharmed. Be mindful that even these herbicides may hurt your grass, so use them sparingly. If you’re able to hand-pull the weeds, consider going that route instead.

Mid-summer

Water deeply and infrequently

Dry, hot weather can deplete your soil moisture. Moisture stress can lead to wilted grass blade, reduced shoot and root growth, and greater susceptibility to pests and weeds.

To combat this, you should water thoroughly about once or twice a week, so long as your region isn’t experiencing any drought conditions that call for water restrictions. The water should reach 4 to 6 inches deep. If you’re unsure, push a screwdriver into your soil. If you meet a lot of resistance, you need to water more. If it slides in too easily, you need to water less.

It’s best to water your lawn in the early morning, before sunrise if you can. That’ll keep the sun from drying out the moisture before your lawn is able to soak it up. Pay attention to weather forecasts—you don’t want to water too much on weeks when it will rain.

Feed, as needed

Your lawn may need a mid-summer feeding to promote healthy growth. This is especially true of warm season grasses like you’ll find in the South. But you don’t want to burn your already heat-stressed grass. Check with your local garden store to see if they have any recommendations on whether you should fertilize, and if so, which type to use.

Late summer

In late summer, you should continue the top-notch watering and mowing practices you’ve put into place. That should do the trick, but if you want to get a jumpstart on fall, you may consider aeration and overseeding.

Aerate

This isn’t a requirement, but if you want, you can use a core aerator to break up compacted soil. You can rent a core aerator, which pulls up plugs or “cores” of soil from the ground, creating air vents that let your grassroots’ access air, nutrients, and water. This will give your lawn extra hardiness, helping it to withstand stressors.

Overseeding

If your lawn is struggling from bare patches or thinning grass, you can restore it back to its former glory with overseeding. By sowing additional seed over existing grass, overseeding will thicken your turf.

Our Top Recommendation: TruGreen

If you’re worried about keeping track of what to do when, hiring a professional lawn care company like TruGreen can be the answer. TruGreen offers five different annual plans, promising to come back every four to fix weeks on an easy, established schedule. That takes all the worry and planning out of it.

TruGreen doesn’t offer mowing or irrigation services, but the lawn care company offers multiple plans that cover fertilization, weed control, pest control, aeration, and even overseeding, depending on where you live.

You can see a breakdown of the three core plans below:

Core Plans

PlansTruHealth℠ Lawn Care PlanTruComplete℠ Lawn Care PlanTruSignature℠ Lawn Care Plan
PlansTruHealth℠ Lawn Care PlanTruComplete℠ Lawn Care PlanTruSignature℠ Lawn Care Plan
Fertilization
Lime soil amendment
Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
Aeration
Overseeding*
Tree and shrub services

*The TruComplete Lawn Care Plan and TruSignature Lawn Plan only offer overseeding for fescue lawns.

All plans are backed by TruGreen’s Healthy Lawn Guarantee®—if you have persistent problems between scheduled visits, a highly trained TruGreen lawn care specialist will return to your lawn as many times as needed to make sure treatments are effective.

If you’d like a free quote from TruGreen, call 888-535-3193, or fill out this simple form.

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