Summer weather warms up and rainfall can be hit or miss. There are some easy steps you can take to ensure your lawn stays green and healthy all summer barbecue season long.

Watering

Grasses in Western Washington typically require about an inch of water per week. Deduct any rainfall and your sprinklers should provide the difference for a green, healthy lawn. Set your sprinkler system to water your grass for a longer duration, fewer days per week. This promotes deep root growth and minimizes evaporation.

It’s best to water during the morning hours. Watering at night can lead to mold and fungus growth that can give disease a chance to take hold. Conversely, watering during the hottest part of the day can increase evaporation.

If you notice wet or dry spots, perform a simple audit of your system. Place empty tuna cans or similar containers 2 feet away from each spray head. Run the system for 15 minutes and measure the water in the cans. Compare the amounts collected. Are some more than others? You may find a brown spot in a lawn is near a sprinkler head that puts out less water or has a poor distribution pattern. Make repairs as needed.

Mowing

During the summer months, we recommend setting the mower to leave the grass a little higher than usual. A height of 2 ½ to 3 inches is preferred. Longer grass blades help promote root growth and minimize evaporation. As an added bonus, the longer grass blades make it more difficult for weeds to germinate.

Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blades when mowing. Always ensure that mower blades are sharp which decreases dead heads on the grass blades due to jagged cuts.

Fertilizing

Fertilization at 6-8 week intervals during summer promotes a healthy, green lawn. Applying a 21-7-14 or 15-15-15 fertilizer blend provides a balanced dose of nutrients.   Be careful to follow instructions on the bag as “more is better” is not always true. Too much nitrogen concentration can actually burn the grass blades in the heat of the summer. Leaving lawn clippings on the grass after mowing does provide additional nutrients. Most local garden centers carry organic and non-organic fertilizer varieties and can answer questions you might have. Or feel free to contact us for more information.

Weed Control

With the warmer weather beginning the seed germination process in late Spring and early Summer, you may notice weeds becoming more of a problem. If you remove weeds by hand, make sure to grab as much of the root as possible to prevent its return. There are a number of handy tools available at your local Garden Center to make this task easier. If weeds in your lawn are too invasive, treat with a broad-spectrum post-emergent weed killer to infected areas. Bringing a sample of the weed into your local garden center and asking for their advice helps ensure you buy the best product to fight weeds in your lawn.

Disease & Pest Control

Brown patches in your lawn can come from a variety of reasons, including pests and diseases. As a first step, it is best to determine whether or not irrigation is the problem. Stick a screwdriver into the brown spots and determine if the soil underneath the lawn is moist or dry. Dry soil means the problem is insufficient watering. If in doubt as to the cause of brown spots, your local nursery or licensed landscaper may be able to help diagnose the problem if you bring in a sample of the soil and leaf material.

If you see areas of moss in your lawn any time of year, reduce shade (if possible) in the affected area and aerate the soil to provide better drainage. Applying lime to raise the Ph of the soil makes a less hospitable environment for moss to grow. To eradicate areas of moss, apply Iron (Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Sulfate or Moss Out).