Summer is upon us here in Berks County.  If you have a lawn, no doubt you've already started your spring lawn care routine. Now it's time to think about keeping your lawn healthy during the summer months. What are some ways to keep your yard healthy during the long days of summer?

About Summer Lawns

Summer can be stressful on lawn grasses. Not only do they have to deal with heat and less water, but we tend to play on them harder. We may tend to overcompensate by overwatering and other methods. But if you understand and respect the seasonal changes of turf grasses, you can take steps tp gently care for your lawn as it gets warmer outside.

  • Cool-season grasses (such as fescue, bluegrass, and rye) grow best when temperatures are in the 60s F.
  • Warm-season grasses (including Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede, and Bermuda) like temperatures in the 70s.

As it gets warmer, lawns begin to struggle a bit. Cool season grasses have the hardest time. They will grow slower, and you'll see the color fade, or even turn all brown and brittle.

Water Wisely

  • Lawns need at least one inch of water per week, and more when the heat is severe. Use a rain gauge or straight-sided can to keep track of the amount of water received from rainfall and irrigation.
  • Water deeply and less frequently to encourage drought-tolerant roots.
  • Water early in the day to reduce evaporation and fungal growth.
  • Either water your lawn regularly and deeply, or don’t water at all. Don’t let your lawn go brown and dormant, then try to “water it back to life.” If your lawn goes dormant in summer, it should stay that way until fall – don’t worry, it should recover once the weather changes.

Mowing Tips

  • Raise your mower blade in the summer. Taller grass is more drought-tolerant, grows deeper roots, and helps shade the earth to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 3”- 4” during the summer, or as high as your blade will go, while warm-season grasses should be mowed at 2”- 3”.
  • Mulching grass clippings helps keep moisture levels steady.
  • Mow regularly, to prevent cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This keeps your grass healthier and prevents the clippings from smothering the grass.
  • Keep mower blades sharp. Make sure your mower is cutting your grass, not tearing it, to minimize stress during hot temperatures.

Don’t Over Fertilize

Don't go bonkers with fertilizer even if your yard is looking a bit rough. In fact, you should stop fertilizing about 30 days before summer arrives. Extra fertilizer can burn your lawn and create a flush of tender growth that will struggle in the hot summer weather. Never fertilize dormant lawns – wait until they green up in the fall.

With these tips, you'll be on your way to enjoying a greener, healthier lawn this summer.

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