As the summer season approaches, it’s important to prepare your lawn to withstand the heat and ensure that it remains healthy and vibrant throughout the season. However, the summer season often brings with it a unique set of challenges that can affect even the most meticulously cared-for lawns. We spoke with Kym Preslar of SodLawn for some summer lawn care tips and tricks to help you overcome common summer lawn problems and maintain an immaculate outdoor space that will make your neighbors green with envy.
The Most Common Summer Lawn Problems – and How to Overcome Them
From pests like mosquitoes to water management issues, there are several challenging summer lawn problems that homeowners face every year.
Here are some of the most common problems – and how to overcome them.
1. Brown Patches and Dry Spots
Nobody wants to see their gorgeous green lawn plagued by unsightly blemishes, but it’s common in the intense heat of summer.
During heatwaves, lawns can quickly become parched and dry. If you live in an area where temperatures soar, it’s critical to monitor your lawn’s moisture levels.
Regularly watering your lawn during the hottest parts of the day can help prevent the development of brown patches. You may also want to consider installing a sprinkler system to ensure that your lawn gets watered regularly.
Remember that rainwater may not always penetrate the soil or hydrate the lawn effectively. It’s crucial to monitor how frequently you water your lawn and to adhere to a regular schedule.
Regularly checking your sprinkler heads and making sure that they are directing water effectively is crucial. You may also want to consider watering your lawn deeply at least once per week to ensure that water penetrates the soil thoroughly.
Another essential aspect of keeping your lawn healthy and green this summer is proper maintenance. Mowing your lawn at the right height can help keep your grass lush and thick. Lengthy grass can lead to the accumulation of thatch and prevent proper irrigation and fertilization. However, mowing your lawn too short can also cause damage, so be smart about your mowing.
2. Weeds and Invasive Plants
Summer is the perfect time to sit back and enjoy your lawn, but if your yard is overrun with weeds and invasive plants, you’re in for a major headache. No one wants to spend their weekends wrestling with dandelions, thistles, and other unwanted flora.
But fear not – with the right strategies and a little elbow grease, you can keep your lawn looking beautiful and weed-free all season long.
Many common types of weeds, like dandelions and crabgrass, are annuals, which means they complete their life cycle in one growing season. In the spring, they germinate from seeds, grow and spread during the summer, and then produce more seeds in the fall that will overwinter and germinate once again the following spring. All of this activity is accelerated in the summer due to the favorable growing conditions.
One of the best things you can do to prevent weed growth is to promote healthy grass growth.
Regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing can help your grass outcompete weeds. Mowing is especially important because it not only keeps your lawn looking neat but also helps reduce the chance of weed seeds being able to germinate.
When you cut the grass, you’re removing the top of the plant, which contains the seed heads of any weeds that may be present. As a result, the weeds can’t produce new seeds, and you’ll have fewer weeds overall.
Pre-emergent herbicides can be highly effective for weed control. These types of herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating, meaning that you’ll have fewer weeds overall. The best time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide is in the spring, but it can also be applied in the summer to help control newly emerged weeds.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully, as different products have different application rates and conditions to be used.
3. Pests and Diseases
One of the most common lawn pests is the grub, or the larvae of various beetle species. These small, white, C-shaped creatures feed on the roots of grass, causing brown patches to appear on the lawn. Grubs are more prevalent during the summer months, as they continue to mature and grow.
One way to prevent grub infestations is to maintain a healthy lawn, with proper watering, fertilizing, and mowing practices. If you do encounter a grub problem, there are organic and eco-friendly solutions available, such as nematodes, which are tiny worms that attack grubs without harming beneficial insects.
Another common lawn pest is the chinch bug, a tiny insect that feeds on grass blades, causing them to dry out and die. These bugs are most active during hot, dry conditions, typically in late summer.
Chinch bugs can be prevented by keeping your grass healthy, with deep watering and appropriate fertilization. If you do find chinch bugs in your lawn, try using an organic insecticide, which targets them specifically and does not harm other beneficial insects.
Finally, fungal infections can cause significant damage to your lawn during the summer months, especially in humid, damp conditions. These infections manifest as brown patches, gray spots, or other discolorations on the grass blades.
To prevent fungal infections, avoid over-watering your lawn and ensure adequate air circulation. If you do get a fungus in your lawn, you can apply an organic fungicide, which targets the infection without harming other plants or insects.
4. Lawn Stress from High Foot Traffic and Activities
Summer is the best time for outdoor activities and gatherings with friends and family. It’s the perfect time for kids to enjoy their time outdoors, running, playing, and having fun. However, with so many outdoor activities taking place during the summer, our lawns are more prone to foot traffic and recreational activities, which in turn causes lawn stress.
One of the best ways to protect your lawn from foot traffic is by creating designated pathways. This not only helps prevent soil compaction, but it also guides people where to walk. You can create paths using materials such as gravel, stepping stones, mulch, or wood chips. Be sure to make the paths wide enough to accommodate foot traffic, and avoid narrow paths that may lead to soil compaction.
Suppose you have specific areas of your lawn that experience a lot of foot traffic and outdoor activities. In that case, it’s a good idea to provide shade to those areas to prevent the grass from wilting or turning brown. Using umbrellas, shade sails, or garden pergolas can help provide shade to specific areas, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor activities without damaging your lawn.
During summertime, we tend to enjoy our time by sitting outside, playing games, or enjoying a barbecue. If you’re hosting a gathering at your home, it’s important to strategically place seating and play equipment in certain areas. To avoid damaging your lawn, place seating and equipment in non-grassy areas, leaving the grassy areas for foot traffic and activities such as running and playing.
The Bottom Line:
Maintaining a beautiful lawn during the summer season does require some extra effort, but it’s definitely worth it to enjoy an immaculate outdoor space that you can be proud of.
By implementing these tips and tricks, you can overcome common summer lawn problems and enjoy a lush, green lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood!