There’s nothing more satisfying than a uniformly green lawn. No spots, no dead patches, no thinning sections. The soft squish of a vibrant green lawn between your toes is almost as good as the envious neighbors asking “what’s your secret?!” It’s the goal of every home lawn enthusiast. But summer and early fall can be tough on your grass. Heat, drought, and heavy use can strain your turf, leaving some areas brown or nearly bare. But with the right approach and cultural practices, you can keep your lawn green with less water all summer and even into the fall. To make sure that you are doing the very best for your Utah lawn, keep these things in mind:
Pay attention to watering
Pet waste clean up
Rearrange & remove debris
The right fertilizer
Turf for your climate
Water Timing and Volume
Improper watering is one of the most common reasons homeowners aren’t getting the lawn they desire. You can water too much, too little, or at the wrong times. But getting it right is the best way to keep your lawn green. With Utah’s high and fairly dry climate, the best method of watering your lawn is deeply and infrequently. By allowing your grass roots to grow deep you are improving your chances of having a luscious green lawn all summer. The way you do this is by watering wisely based on summer months.
It’s important to use your best judgment when it comes to watering! Utah weather can be unpredictable which means unseasonably hot days earlier in summer or thunderstorms in the middle of July. If you aren’t sure just how much water is going into your grass here is an easy trick to measure it! Take a couple of old jars, cans, or cups you have around the house that are roughly the same size and place them around the yard. Turn the sprinklers on for ten minutes to see how much water is accumulated in each cup. This not only allows you to measure how much water is going into your grass but also shows you if your sprinklers need to be adjusted to even out the watering.
Mowing properly is almost as important as watering properly. The right mowing techniques can help keep your lawn green. First, know the proper height for your turf variety. During the summer, mow at the top end of your turf’s recommended height. The extra height helps keep the soil cool and reduces evaporation. Longer blades also bounce back better from foot traffic. Cutting your grass too short or too often can damage it resulting in a dead lawn. Did you know that by allowing your grass to grow longer it can naturally prevent weeds from growing? The natural canopy created by longer grass prevents direct sunlight from hitting the ground, detering weeds from growing. This is not a foolproof plan but it is an added benefit to reduce the use of chemicals while cutting costs! If you do find yourself with a weed problem undeterred by grass height you will want to apply pre-emergent during early summer or a safe weed killer mid to late summer.
Mowing can sometimes be stressful for your lawn. To avoid damaging the plant, never remove more than one-third of its height. If you let your grass grow too long, you may need to make multiple passes with your mower, setting your mowing deck lower on each pass. Also, make sure to sharpen your mower blades at least once during the summer. A dull mower blade can rip the grass, which is much more stressful than a clean cut. As you mow, it’s best to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. As the clippings quickly decompose, they return vital moisture and nutrients to the soil. Also, avoid mowing when the lawn is wet. Wet grass clippings can clump, and they won’t decompose as quickly. Clumps of grass clippings can suffocate the grass beneath.
Clean Up After Your Pets
We love our pets, but do they sure know how to wreak havoc on our lawns. Cat or dog waste is not good for your grass, and can even cause dead patches if it isn’t cleaned up. In a perfect world you could train your pets to relieve themselves away from your lawn but if your pet does let loose on your precious turf, it’s recommended to flush the harmful debris away with plenty of water.
Rearrange and Remove Debris
In addition to pet waste, letting litter sit on your lawn can cause some serious dead patches. If you have toys, a wading pool, furniture, or other items on your lawn, don’t let them sit on the grass for too long. Anything sitting on your grass is depriving the plant below it of air, light, and water. It can also crush the grass blades. Never leave anything on your grass for too long, and move around items you want to keep in your yard.
Keep on top of weeds throughout the summer to prevent an infestation. If you spot treat weeds with a selective herbicide as you notice them, you can keep your lawn green without too much effort. If you see a small weed, you may not even need herbicide. A simple spade and a little digging are often all you need to keep your lawn clear of weeds.
If you ask the experts, you may get some conflicting advice on fertilizing. Many turf professionals recommend just two treatments a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Others suggest you should fertilize every six weeks to two months. The two opinions are not as divergent as they may seem. The main concern is avoiding over-fertilizing during the peak growth season. Pushing your grass to grow too quickly can weaken the root and crown. So if you decide to fertilize during the summer, use a low-nitrogen mix to avoid rapid blade growth at the expense of the other parts of the turf plant.
- Best time to fertilize is a couple of days after a rainstorm (or deep soak the lawn to simulate a heavy rain)
- Apply the fertilizer evenly over the entire lawn
- After application, lightly water the lawn
Be careful not to overwater after applying the fertilizer, the goal is to soak the mixture into the soil not wash it all away. It’s also important not to use too much fertilizer on your lawn, that can result in burning the lawn!
Turf for Your Climate
The health and greenness of your grass throughout the growing season have a lot to do with what type of turf you grow. Different varieties have advantages that make them more suitable for specific conditions. Zoysia grass is best for shady areas. Bermudagrass is an all-around favorite for warm-season grass for hot summers like those in the Southeast.
Your Homes Lawn
Now that you have all of the building blocks to create a green lawn you are prepared for success! Picnics with your family or playing ball with your dog in the backyard is much more enjoyable on a comfortable lawn. If your family is looking to find the perfect house to call home or you are looking for more “How-To” tips please visit our blog. Visionary Homes is dedicated to helping you create a space that your family can build memories in for a lifetime. If you would like help designing your home or considering something new don’t hesitate to connect with us at (435) 228-4702 or fill out the form below.