Lawn experts like to say that spring is the time when a homeowner works to make their lawn green and healthy, and summer is the time when the homeowner strives to keep it so. This may be a challenge as the weather turns unbearably hot and summer parties and countless kids’ games are hosted on the lawn. Here are 11 summer lawn care tips to keep the lawn green and growing from the early days of the Reno summer until fall.
Mow with Care
One summer lawn care tip is to never take more than 1/3 of the grass blade off when mowing. Grass that’s mown more than this will struggle during the summer, and the clippings may smother them. It’s also good lawn maintenance to keep grass fairly tall, for tall grass can better withstand periods of drought. The roots are deeper, and the grass casts enough shade to keep down the weeds.
Make sure that the lawn mower blades are sharp and balanced. This summer lawn care task should be done in the early spring, if not the late winter. Dull blades simply crush the grass, which makes it more susceptible to pests and disease.
Water deep roots
A lawn in a desert climate such as Reno needs a good deal of watering. Most lawns need at least an inch a week, and it’s possible that a Reno lawn needs even more than this. Grass needs to be watered deeply but infrequently to support the roots. If this isn’t possible, the homeowner should leave it to nature to water it. A lawn that turns brown in the summer isn’t dead, just dormant. It will revive in the fall.
The lawn should be watered early in the day. Watering during the worst heat of the day only causes the water to evaporate, and watering in the evening invites disease.
Be Careful with Fertilizer
Even if the lawn is looking a bit careworn, it should be fertilized in early spring, then left alone for the summer. The heat can cause fertilizer to burn the lawn and stimulate new growth that will only be stressed in the heat. If the lawn has gone dormant, it should not be fertilized until the fall.
One exception to not adding fertilizer is if it’s raining regularly and grass is growing in high traffic areas. A bit of fertilizer will help.
Protect the Grass
Those games and summer parties can wreak havoc on areas of the grass. A homeowner should try to redirect the traffic, or put down attractive stepping stones as part of good summer lawn care.
Pull the Weeds
If pre-emergent weed killer wasn’t applied early in the spring, a bit of post-emergent weed killer might be called for when the weeds begin to sprout. These herbicides kill broadleaf weeds such as plantains without harming the grass, but they need to be applied sparingly when the temperature is cooler than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The best summer lawn care is to pull weeds by hand as soon as possible.
Watch for Diseases and Pests
Fungal diseases are why lawns aren’t watered in the evening. If they appear, apply fungicide. Grubs take advantage of summer to chew their way through the roots of grasses, but there are many natural ways to control them. They include milky spore disease, bacteria and nematodes that kill them from the inside out.
- Don’t Let the Pets “Go” on the Lawn If possible, don’t allow pets, especially dogs, to do their business on the lawn. If they do, the area needs to be cleaned up right away and flushed with water lest the waste leave brown spots.
Don’t Park on the Grass
Parking on the grass compacts the soil and can kill the grass. A car that leaks oil or transmission fluid is even worse for the lawn.
Pick up Debris
Good summer lawn care dictates that toys and games aren’t left on the lawn. They can be stepped on, tripped over or damage the mower. When the day is done, put everything back in its place.
Clean the Lawn Mower Regularly
Homeowners sometimes don’t think of this, but it’s a good summer lawn care practice to clean under the mower to keep it from spreading disease. Make sure to remove the spark plug whenever the mower is serviced.
Rake Up Debris
Rake up fallen leaves, flowers and twigs. They can harbor diseases and unfriendly insects.
These lawn care tips should keep any lawn lush and healthy throughout the desert summer. Good summer lawn care will make any lawn the envy of the neighborhood.