One of the more common horticulture questions is how to maintain a nice lawn during the summer months. Here are a couple of tricks.
Mow the grass to a height of 3 to 3 ½ inches. That means you will probably need to adjust the wheel height of your lawn mower. If you mow lower than 3 inches, the blades will not be long enough to process the sunlight into nutrients and your lawn will die. Starting a lawn from scratch can be very expensive and time consuming. If you mow over 3 ½ inches, the blades will be too tall and fall over, again blocking the sunlight.
If you are unable to mow because of rain or travel plans and the lawn is overgrown, only remove the top third of the blade at a time. Otherwise, you will shock the grass and it will start to die. Then plan on a second mow later in the week to get your turf to a 3 or 3 ½ inch height.
It takes an inch of water each week to keep your lawn green and healthy throughout the summer. If you are unable to handle that schedule, at least apply a half inch of water every two weeks. The turf will probably go dormant and not look very good, but you will have saved the crowns of the grass. That means it will survive. If the crowns die, the lawn is gone and it will be an expensive proposition to re-sod.
How do you know if your lawn is getting the right amount of water? A rain gauge will tell you if Mother Nature supplied enough. To see what your hose and sprinkler are providing, use an empty (and clean) tuna fish can. It is just about an inch in depth. Place the can in the yard and when you think you have watered enough, check to see if the can is full. If not, you need to let the watering go longer.
The best time to mow is very early in the morning, say about 5:00 a.m. If you are not up at that hour, some hardware stores will sell you a timer for that purpose. Early morning watering means there is less wind and the water will go into the soil. Watering later in the day means your efforts will be evaporated by the sun. Watering in the evening can cause fungal problems and root rot. A diseased lawn is difficult to recoup from.
Contact Project Landscape if you have more questions about lawn care, sod installation and more.