It’s June, and your gloriously green, spring lawn, may not be looking quite as vibrant right now. So let’s do something about it! It’s time to give your lawn a little boost. As the weather turns hot, the cool-season grasses in our lawns start to suffer and could use a little of your help to look and feel better. When working on your lawn, just a few things to keep in mind:
• Small patch seeding only! Don’t take on big seeding projects this time of the year. If you do, you’ll have to water so much you won’t have time to enjoy your super green lawn. Only do small, manageable, bare patches of seeding.
• Keep the lawn mowed as high as you can tolerate. Never let that mower dip below 3 inches. The higher the lawn is, the less chance of burnout in the summer heat.
• You are either all in or all out. Meaning if you’re going to water in the summer months, commit to it. No piddly amounts of water will do. If you are only going to give your lawn shot glasses full of water, then do not bother at all. Just let it go dormant and take a little summer rest.
If at least a month has passed, since your last lawn fertilization, it’s time to get out there and do it again. Here’s the good news, there are many choices to fit your lawn’s needs.
• If your lawn is just looking a little tired, not quite as green, and not overrun with weeds, you could stick to fertilizer. Not just any ordinary fertilizer, but one that contains iron. Iron is great when applied in the month of June. It adds strength, vigor, and deep green color to our lawns, making them look better through the hot summer months ahead. Grab yourself a bag of Summer Revitalizer by Espoma or Milorganite.
• If you recently fertilized your lawn within the last four weeks but you still want that nice green color that iron gives you, then you can apply Fast Acting Iron by Earth Sciences. Talk about green!
• If your lawn is crying out for the nice green color iron adds to it, but still has quite a few weeds popping up, then the perfect combination would be one of the above fertilizers with a bottle of liquid weed control. You can choose a synthetic, such as Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra plus Crabgrass and Broadleaf Weed Killer, or a natural, such as Weed Beater Fe. You’ll get a wider range of weed control with this synthetic choice but it is nice to know that a natural choice exists.
• Don’t forget the grub control this month. The new, hungry batch of grubs have not hatched yet but they will be soon and you want to be prepared. It is time to put down Grub Ex. Be sure to water it in or put it down before a rainfall to be most effective. If natural is the way for you, then you can put down Milky Spore to help keep those damaging critters at bay.
• If inevitably, each summer, your lawn is plagued with the summertime disease, now is the time to be proactive and put Bonide‘s Infuse Fungicide down. Be sure to water in and you may even consider a second application in 10 days.
Summer is on its way and this is the time we will want to enjoy our lawns the most. Give them a June boost now for the best summer lawn ahead! Happy Gardening!
Summer is the best time to run barefoot through the grass. Who wants to wear shoes this time of the year? Step your bare tootsies onto the lawn and run free. I try and go shoeless as often as possible in the summer. The problem I encounter when walking free is that I can’t help but pause at every weed, investigate for insects, and scout for crabgrass. Oh well, I am a lawn nerd. What can I say?! I find them interesting. It is pretty amazing that we can grow these “crops” of grass in so many different conditions. Lawns are the anchors of our yards. They frame our homes and garden beds and provide recreation areas for our families.
Summer is a time to have fun but hopefully not at the expense of our lawns. Don’t forget about that green carpet under your bare toes. It serves you well. Give it a little TLC. Here’s what we can do this time of the year:
*Water if you can. Your lawn needs a minimum of 1 inch of water per week. If Mother Nature does not provide this, it’s time for you to step up with those bare feet and set up some sprinklers. Buy a simple rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn is getting per week or set up an empty tuna can to capture the water. It is really important to give your lawn a deep, root soaking. Instead of watering daily for a short period of time, I would much rather that you water 2 to 3 times per week for a much longer time. Most people set their sprinklers to run 20 minutes per day. Change this up and go every other day for a minimum of an hour. This way, water will seep deeper into the soil, encouraging deeper grass root growth. Water in the early part of the day to avoid water evaporation and disease promotion caused by late day watering.
*Let your lawn go dormant if you can’t water. Lawns have an amazing survival instinct to shut down and go dormant in the heat and drought of summer. The bad news is, our lawns are brown and crunchy during this time period. The good news is, they usually recover once the cooler weather of September returns. Trying to get a sleeping summer lawn to wake up with just a little bit of water in the heat, is not the best idea. It will wake up grumpy.
*Mow your lawn high. The taller your grass blades are, the softer, cool grass you have to run your toes through, and the better the chances of your lawn’s survival. A taller grass blade has more surface area and provides more shade for the grass below, therefore, the ability to retain moisture is better.
*Let the clippings fall. The grass is made up of approximately 80% water. If you leave the clippings on the lawn, they give back moisture and act as a “green” fertilizer providing a gentle Nitrogen feed for your lawn.
*Keep your blades sharp. Believe it or not, the sharper your mower blades, the softer the grass will be on your summer feet. Grass that is ragtag from dull mower blades is more vulnerable to diseases and drying out.
*1/3rd at a time. Don’t mow off more than a third of a grass blade at a time. If you mow off more, you will stress out your lawn, making it much more susceptible to burnout.
*Treat for grubs. Now is the time to apply Bayer’s Season Long Grub Control. This is no joke folks. Pretty soon grubs will be hatching and lurking beneath your feet, eating the roots of your lovely lawn. Don’t wait. Apply Bayer’s Season Long Grub Control through mid-August. Be sure to water it in or apply before a heavy rainfall. The more rain it gets, the better it works.
*Bring out the post-emergent weed controls. Pay attention to new weeds popping up and nasty crabgrass and Nutsedge. Crabgrass loves the heat and is one of the greatest summer bullies on the lawn. Use a liquid broadleaf weed control such as; Ortho’s Weed-B-Gon plus Crabgrass Control. Use Nutsedge Killer by Ortho to control that nuisance Nutsedge. It is best to use these products when temperatures are below 85 degrees.
*Give your lawn, a non-burning summer treat. Milorganite is one of my favorite products. It is organic, non-burning, and has Iron for quick green-up. Espoma makes a nice, organic Summer Revitalizer that is perfect for this summer heat. Encap’s Fast-Acting Iron is great at putting the green back into your summer lawn.
Everybody, kick off your shoes, run barefoot through your lawn, do cartwheels, have a picnic, play ball, etc. Be sure to thank your lawn for all it does for you and your family. It provides you with a fun place to play, a perfect backdrop for your garden, and a lot of oxygen to run around.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!