Summer Lawn Care Checklist

by Jack Grover
Lawn mowing
Reading time: 13 min Prefer to listen?

As the warm summer days stretch out, our neighborhoods transform into a vivid tapestry of lush greens and vibrant hues. Blooming flowers emerge, creating a picturesque landscape reminiscent of nature’s finest artwork.

Basking in the sun while admiring a well-manicured lawn is undoubtedly a joy to behold. However, keeping that yard looking immaculate throughout the summer season requires dedication and effort.

We’ve compiled an essential summer lawn care checklist to guide you through maintaining a thriving garden despite the soaring temperatures. With this handy guide at your disposal, you can sustain that evergreen look and create an inviting outdoor space.

Stay tuned as we delve into tried-and-tested lawn care tips — from mowing to watering to curbing those pesky weeds — that will help you nurture your yard into an oasis your friends and family can enjoy all summer long.

Step 1: Mowing

Mow your turf like a pro by practicing techniques suited for the summer season. Here’s how you can help your lawn thrive during those hot summer months.

  1. Maintain taller grass blades: Taller grass blades hold up well against heat, ensuring a lush and green lawn during high temperatures.
  2. Adjust your mower’s cutting height: Set the cutting height to around 3 to 4 inches for optimal blade surface area, promoting increased photosynthesis and a more robust root structure.
  3. Remove only one-third of the grass blade at a time: This technique prevents adverse reactions such as dying grass and slowed growth rates while mowing.
  4. Be patient while mowing: Rushing through the task can damage your lawn; take your time to ensure an even and careful cut.
  5. Forego bagging your grass clippings: Leaving moderate amounts of clippings behind will allow them to decompose, returning valuable nutrients and moisture retention properties to the soil.

Step 2: Watering

No summer lawn care checklist is complete without proper hydration for your thirsty greenery.

During the hottest months, deep and infrequent watering is a reliable approach for maintaining a lush lawn. For best results, aim for about an inch of water per week.

Healthy grass roots typically grow 6-8 inches deep. Here’s what you should know about the water absorption properties of different soil types.

Soil TypeWater AbsorptionHow deeply 1 inch of water penetrates
SandyQuickly absorbs water; requires less water but more frequent watering.12 inches
LoamEnsures uniform water absorption, preventing pooling or excess runoff.7 inches
ClayWater absorption is slow, leading to runoff when water is applied too quickly. It retains moisture for extended periods, making it slow to dry out.4-5 inches

The best time to schedule your watering sessions is in the early morning. Watering during this period minimizes evaporation, ensuring maximum absorption by the grassroots. Additionally, this strategy prevents water waste and keeps your lawn looking fresh all day long.

An efficient way to assess if it’s time to water your lawn is by conducting a simple flexibility test. Walk over your grass, then observe its response. If the grass blades do not spring back and you can still see your footprints, it’s a sign your lawn requires hydration.

Finally, avoid overwatering your lawn, as it may lead to shallow rooting, missed nutrients, and possible fungal diseases.

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Step 3: Aerating

Summer heat can be a real challenge for your lawn because it often leads to soil compaction. To alleviate this issue, you should engage in the art of lawn aeration.

Aeration is the process of creating numerous small, evenly-spaced holes throughout your lawn. These tiny perforations allow water, air, and nutrients to permeate the soil, reaching the roots of your grass more effectively.

There are two popular methods for aerating your lawn: manual and mechanical.

Manual aerators resemble pitchforks with hollow tines and require simple physical labor to create holes in your lawn.

On the other hand, mechanical aerators are machines that use rotating spikes or coring tubes to achieve the same result more efficiently.

When it comes to choosing the right equipment, there are three main types of aerators available — each with distinct characteristics and benefits. Knowing the differences between these tools can help you make an informed decision about the best aeration method for your yard.

Spike Aerators

Spike aerators work by poking holes into the soil using solid, spike-like tines.

This method is straightforward and easy to perform, with some homeowners using spiked aerator “sandals” that can be strapped to their shoes. As they walk through their yard or carry out other gardening tasks, the sandals aerate the soil beneath.

Nonetheless, this technique may exacerbate soil compaction on larger scales or more compacted soils instead of alleviating it. This is because the spikes press the ground together around the holes.

Slicing Aerators

Another option is slicing aerators. These machines come equipped with rotating blades that slice through grass, thatch, and down into the earth.

Unlike spike aerators, slicing aerators still create pathways for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil without causing further compaction. This method leaves the soil in the ground while efficiently promoting better airflow and nutrient absorption.

Core or Plug Aerators

Core or plug aerators are often the preferred choice among lawn care professionals.

These devices feature rows of hollow tines that remove plugs of soil from your lawn and deposit them on the surface. Once there, the plugs naturally break down over time.

Core or plug aerators produce varying plug and hole sizes based on the machine used.

Step 4: Fertilizing

Feeding your lawn with fertilizer during summer is crucial for sustained growth.

If you want the best results, consider choosing a slow-release fertilizer that provides much-needed nutrients consistently throughout the warmer months.

Selecting a fertilizing product tailored to your specific type of grass will yield the best results. Here’s a table you can use to make a well-informed decision:

Fertilizer TypeDescriptionFeatures
OrganicComposed of natural materials, these fertilizers supply your lawn with the nutrients required for optimal growth and health.– Gentle on lawns; they won’t burn your grass.- They provide a gradual and consistent release of nutrients.
SyntheticThey are perfect for delivering the precise amount of nutrients your lawn requires based on its unique chemical composition.– They work quickly.- They are inexpensive.
LiquidConcentrated liquids that can be mixed with water, allowing for effortless lawn-spraying applications.– They are effortless to apply across the lawn.- They provide a fast-release formula.
GranularDry pieces that are available in pellet form.– They feature a slow-release formula.- Single application suffices for the entire season.
Slow-ReleaseGranular beads that gradually release nutrients over an extended period, typically covering around 6-8 weeks.– Ensures even application and consistent growth.- Reduces nutrient depletion through soil and air.
Quick-ReleaseInstant-release fertilizers deliver nutrients directly into the soil upon watering, providing an immediate surge of essential ingredients.– Quick response from the grass.- More cost-effective than other options.- Provides instant nourishment to the lawn.

Once you’re ready to fertilize your lawn, start the process by spending some time to understand the right balance between fertilizing sessions. Space them adequately and avoid over-fertilization, which can adversely affect your grass.

Excess blade growth or burning may occur if your lawn receives too much fertilizer in summer.

At the same time, always read the package instructions with care. This simple step ensures you’re applying the correct amount of fertilizer based on your lawn’s size and the type of grass you’re working with.

It’s also essential to monitor the effects of fertilizing on your lawn over time. Observe how your grass responds to each fertilizing session and make adjustments accordingly.

Feel free to seek professional advice if you need clarification on products or methods suitable for your lawn.

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Step 5: Weed Control

Hot temperatures create an ideal environment for pesky weeds like crabgrass and dandelions. Their presence is unwelcome, as they compete with your grass for precious resources. Thus, tackling these invaders is crucial to ensure your lawn stays healthy and vibrant.

One approach is to combine chemical weed preventatives with natural methods.

Chemical solutions like pre-emergent herbicides can be applied in late spring or early summer. Using them can help you target weed growth before they even emerge, making maintenance much more manageable.

On the other hand, natural methods involve physically removing weeds from your lawn.

Hand pulling works best when the soil is moist, as it’s easier to grasp and remove the entire root system. Using specialized weed-removing tools, like the weed hound or dandelion digger, can make this task less labor-intensive and more efficient.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the summer heat put a damper on your lovely lawn. Instead, fight back as best you can to preserve your backyard in good shape.

Our comprehensive summer lawn care checklist equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain your outdoor oasis even as temperatures soar.

Staying proactive in nurturing your grass through proper mowing, watering, aerating, fertilizing, and weed control techniques will undoubtedly set the stage for a healthy, lush lawn that you can enjoy all season long.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to conquer that summer heat. Cheers to a glorious, green summer landscape!

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