A summer-ready lawn only takes a few days of care. In fact, just a little extra TLC ensures your landscaping can withstand hot temperatures while still looking great. Taking a weekend to clean up and care for your lawn in the spring can mean greener grass and a summer-ready lawn that also requires less maintenance when temperatures rise.
Follow these tips to make sure your lawn stays in shape all summer long.
Clear out the debris
After a long winter and spring, your lawn is probably covered in debris known as “thatch.” Thatch includes the pine needles, dead leaves, dead grass, and other stuff that builds up on your lawn over the winter months. It has a nasty habit of covering up your healthy grass and blocking it from sun. What’s more, thatch can absorb too much water and cause wilting. It’s always best to start with a clean slate, so grab a rake and gently remove as much thatch as you can. Don’t be too aggressive, as your spring grass will still be fairly fragile while its growing underneath.
Spread on the fertilizer
A layer of fertilizer can really give your landscaping the nutrients it needs to turn over from sparse spring to summer-ready lawn. Think of it as a multi-vitamin for your grass. Fertilizer includes a balance of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphate, but the percentage you need of each depends on your area and the type of grass and soil you have. Make sure you follow the directions for your fertilizer carefully. Some require specific watering amounts after spreading. Others work best on an already-damp lawn.
Not sure what to use? Contact a lawn care professional for expert advice on the type of lawn you have and to get a tailored fertilization plan.
The promise of a wet and rainy spring can help you weather the hot, dry months, but your lawn might still need more. Make sure to give your lawn at least a couple deep “drinks” before the heat makes its appearance. This is important in growing strong roots that withstand the summer. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to do a deep water irregularly than to surface water your lawn every day. Make sure you give your lawn a deep watering at the beginning of spring to help grow healthy grass. Water your grass at regular intervals and amounts through the spring, and then give your lawn another deep watering at the end of spring. This will help hydrate the soil so you need less water throughout the hot summer months.
Get some air
Aeration — tiny holes poked into the surface of the lawn–might seem nonessential, but it’s a great way to get a summer-ready lawn. Over cold winter months, soil can become compacted and hard. This makes it difficult for the roots of your grass to get the oxygen and water they need to give you a strong, green, healthy lawn. By perforating the surface of the soil, it breaks up some of that hard surface to allow your grass to get everything it needs.
You can try DIY lawn aeration by renting a tool from you local hardware store. Or, hire a lawn care pro to come in and take care of it. Aeration is relatively inexpensive, but it gives you big bang for your buck when it comes to a healthy, hydrated summer lawn.
Summer sprinkler checkup
The last thing you need is a broken sprinkler system in July. Give your landscaping a spring checkup to make sure everything is working like it should before it gets too hot. Survey the sprinkler heads, since they can be broken off by lawn mowers — or errant baseballs. They’re simple to replace and ensure your lawn is getting the water it needs. You can also adjust the spray patterns or change the watering schedule. The goal is to water efficiently, not water more. Make sure sprinklers are only spraying grass, shrubs, and flowers, and aren’t wasting water on sidewalks or driveways.
Check the long-range forecast (or farmer’s almanac) to see what type of summer is forecasted. Start with the minimum amount of watering and adjust up from there. Remember that when it comes to watering your lawn, overdoing it isn’t only expensive, but stops your grass from getting the oxygen it needs. An overwatered lawn is more likely to have weeds and poor growth with weak roots. Less is more, especially when it comes to watering on a schedule. Your best bet is to water less frequently, but more thoroughly.
Summer is just around the corner, and a summer-ready lawn is a lot easier to get when you start in the spring. Are you ready to have the best lawn on the block this summer?