Posted on: Jun 22, 2023Raunie
It’s a great time of year to share a summer lawn care checklist to ensure your lawn thrives during the growing season. Most years we are used to an unusually hot and dry summer and your grass will be reeling from the extreme weather conditions. The hotter and drier the weather, the more water your grass will need. It is also easier for your lawn to turn yellow, and be less resistant to disease and insects. While we have been having an unusually cool/wet entry into Summer, it is always important to know how best to handle your lawn in all seasons.
This not only provides the correct support for your grass but will save you money over time! A thick, healthy lawn requires less attention and will still look great! Here are a few things you can do throughout the Summer to help improve your grass in the short and long term.
Soil Quality Matters
If your soil is devoid of organic nutrients, is eroding (has cracks throughout it), or is very hard and compact, your grass will always struggle. When approaching lawn care, it is important to know that you always first have to assess environment your grass has available to grow in. This starts with the soil quality.
Over time, the natural nutrients that you have in your soil get absorbed by your grass or evaporated by the hot summer sun. I always recommend adding top soil to your lawn every 3-5 years to keep that soil healthy and promote a space for your grass to thrive. Also, by doing this regularly, any new seeds that you are putting on your lawn will have a higher chance of growing because young grass requires space to properly root. If you cant dig a hole in your lawn without a shovel, you can imaging how hard it would be for a seedling to germinate!
If you have an excess of weeds that never seem to go away and new grass doesn’t grow no matter how much seed you put down, the likely culprit is the soil. We add new soil to our gardens each year, so make sure your not forgetting about your lawn!
Choose a Drought-Resistant Seed
If you don’t use one already, switch to a drought-resistant seed. It might be too late to save your lawn entirely from heat stress; however, with annual seeding, you can help it for the future. Drought-resistant seed such as Red Fescue or Kentucky Blue Grass are the best turf types for our climate in Southern Ontario. Additionally, these seeds are more resilient to extreme heat and can outlive these conditions with less water. It is key to seed your lawn annually to maintain and thick, lush foundation.
Follow the 5-7 Rule
The rule is simple: Water between 5am – 7am or between 5pm and 7pm. While it is best to water in the morning, always, the reality is that we’re busy and not everyone wants to get up at 5am to tend to their lawn. If you have a sprinkler system, morning is the best option but for those folks (like me) that don’t have that luxury, I thought it would be helpful to provide another options to blend into our busy schedules. If you are choosing the evening option, it is best to stop at 7pm because as the sun sets, any excess moisture will sit on the surface and create mold, or fungus.
On average, lawns require about 2 inches of water per week during the summer to remain healthy and green. If the weather gets hot and dry, it’s better to water your lawn when temperatures are cooler otherwise much of it will evaporate and defeat the purpose. Also, as mentioned earlier, by watering in the during these times reduces the risk of over saturation which can cause fungus or disease.
Deep Watering vs. Shallow Watering
It is always better to water deeply for longer periods of time rather than short bursts of water. My favourite analogy is comparing the harsh temperatures and your grass to how you feel after a long run. A sip of water isn’t going to quench your thirst but the more you drink, the quicker your body will recover. The same is true for your lawn!
By watering for longer periods of time with less frequency, you are also creating an rhythm that is closer to nature. If you water everyday for short amounts of time (i.e. 10 minutes or less) the water sits in the top few inches of the soil. While this provides water directly to the roots of your grass, it also creates an environment that is “too easy” for the roots to search for the moisture. This, in turn, results in your grass having a shallow and weak root system. By mirroring nature and watering more infrequently for longer periods of time (i.e 30-45 minutes), it penetrates deeper into the soil and allows the roots to push deeper in search of that water. Stronger and deeper roots are ideal for healthy and more sustainable lawns overall.
Shade Your Grassroots
You’d be surprised how much long grass can shade roots and keep them from bearing the full consequences of extreme heat. During harsh summer conditions, make sure your grass stays long to do just that. By setting your mower blade to the highest setting, you’re naturally protecting the soil and the crowns of the grass blades. This effectively creates a natural security system for your lawn to reduce many different problems such as weeds, disease, insects and, fungus
By following this simple summer lawn care checklist, your lawn will thank you for summers to come!