Whether you look at it or play on it, homeowners love lush green grass. For families, the lawn is a playground for children and pets. Gardeners see grass as a neutral green carpet surrounded by brilliant flower beds. Your lawn is a calming view from the deck while sipping a favorite beverage. However you enjoy it, a few best practices will keep it healthy during summer.
8 Ways to Get Your Lawn Summer-Ready
Regular watering, weed control, and fertilizing contribute to a thriving lawn. Prepare your lawn for summer with these eight tips.
Turn on Your Sprinklers
Homeowners in cold states drain and turn off their in-ground lawn sprinklers in winter. This keeps the pipes from freezing and bursting during the winter. When spring comes, so does sprinkler season. But the best time to turn on the sprinkler system varies depending on where you live. In areas with cold winters, such as the Midwest, turn the sprinkler system after the last freeze, usually in May.
In the mountain and western regions of the US, drought conditions led to water conservation regulations. These states have an irrigation or sprinkler season that starts May 1 and ends October 1, though the exact dates may vary.
The first few times you water your grass, look for signs of faulty sprinklers. These include:
- Irregular spray patterns
- Unusually low or very high water pressure
- Water puddles around the lawn
- The controller system isn’t working properly
A malfunctioning sprinkler system wastes water and can lead to costly damages. Leaky sprinklers can cause water to puddle around your foundation and flood the basement. Call a plumber if your lawn sprinkler has clogs or leaks.
You’ll also need professional help for sprinkler leaks that cause water damage to your home. With water damage, speed is essential to dry out and dehumidify your home to avoid mold growth. For example, the water restoration experts at SERVPRO have an eight-step process that includes inspection and damage assessment, cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing, and repairs and reconstruction.
Prep Your Lawn
A healthy summer lawn starts with spring lawn care.
Address Bare Patches
If your lawn has dead spots, here’s an expert tip to soften brown, dry patches. Put a little dish soap in a spray bottle or hose-end sprayer. Use about three ounces of dish soap per gallon of water. Spray the brown area so the soap can help break down dead grass to help water soak through the thatch into the soil.
Choose a biodegradable dish soap without bleach or antibacterial ingredients. If bubbles form on the ground, spray it with clear water. To fill bare patches, till the soil and spread seed evenly across the space.
Dethatch Your Lawn
Over the winter, thatch or decaying plant material accumulates in your lawn. Rake it thoroughly to remove thatch and allow sunlight and water to reach the grass.
Fertilize the Grass
Fertilizer gives grass nutrients that soil may lack. Apply fertilizer at least twice a year during the growing season. A rule of thumb is to fertilize in late spring and early fall, but follow the recommendations for your brand of fertilizer.
Spot Treat Weeds
If you see a dandelion or other weeds, spray them before they spread. Use a commercial weed killer or make a natural weed killer with ingredients like salt and vinegar or castile soap.
Check Your Tools
Dull lawn mower blades tear the grass, making it susceptible to disease and less resistant to drought, heat, and pests. Experts recommend sharpening your mower blades twice during the growing season. Take the lawn mower to a hardware or home improvement store or sharpen it yourself if you’re handy and have the right tools.
Don’t mow your lawn too short, or you’ll stress the grass plant. Maintain a height of 3 inches or more. Your grass will grow deeper roots and be more drought resistant.
Regular watering differs between a green lawn and a yellow dormant one. The best time of day to water your lawn is in the morning before 10 am. It’s more relaxed and less windy so that the water can soak into the soil. In the evening, try to water between 4 and 6 pm. That allows the blades of grass to dry before nightfall, minimizing the chance of disease.
Check the water regulations for your city if your area is in a drought. Some cities or states prohibit landscape watering to preserve water for essential functions. If you can’t water your lawn, it will turn yellow and become dormant. But it will revive when the rain returns.
Get Your Lawn Summer Ready
The steps you take in the spring will get your lawn summer ready. It will look good and be healthy enough to withstand summer’s heat or dry spells. While most lawn maintenance is a DIY job, get help to repair a faulty sprinkler system. Too much or too little water will harm your lawn. Also, seek expert help if a sprinkler leak floods your basement. Water restoration experts can speed the repair process and help minimize the damages. With these tips, your lawn will be ready for children’s soccer games, the dog’s zoomies, or your quiet morning coffee break.