Barbecues, picnics, backyard volleyball games… we take just about any opportunity to spend the day outside. So it makes sense that you want your outdoor space to be in great shape!
The truth is, summer can be harsh on our lawns. Hot sun, lack of rain, influx of insects, there’s a lot that can go wrong. So here are five ways that you can keep your yard in shape and make you actually want to spend your summer in your yard.
#1 Properly Mow Your Lawn
A hot summer day doesn’t really get you in the mood to go outside and push a lawnmower around for an hour. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Mowing your lawn is actually one of the most important aspects of having green grass when we get into the hotter months.
But you not only need to mow, but mow correctly. That means mowing at the right length, frequency, and time of day.
You’ll be happy to know that experts do not recommend mowing during the afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. This can actually give both you and your lawn a burn. Choose a time of day when the sun is hiding.
Experts also recommend that you set your mower to the highest level. Why? Because taller grass holds more moisture and stays greener than short grass. It also shades the soil from the hot sun which can help keep roots wet.
#2 Water Appropriately
You already know plants need water to survive. Your grass is no different. Part of what makes summer so great is that we can go weeks without a rainy day. Great for outdoor activities. Bad for the grass we want to do them on.
Grass tends to shutdown during droughts to try and conserve energy. That makes your lawn brown, tan, and dry to the touch. Properly watering your lawn will prevent the grass from going dormant during the summer. Try to simply mimic how rain fall would normally occur. You can do this by watering deeply but not frequently. Give the lawn a good drench once a week, but don’t just spray it down quickly every night. Frequent, shallow watering actually encourages shorter root growth.
Bonus Tip: If it’s recently rained or you’ve recently watered your grass, wait till it’s dry to mow it. Mowing wet grass can compact the soil and suffocate the roots, which in turn can kill the lawn.
#3 Fertilize Carefully
Your lawn needs water to drink but also food to grow. A great option is a slow-release fertilizer to give the lawn nutrition while keeping it safe from the summer heat. Make sure you are careful, however. If your fertilizer makes your lawn grow too much, it will encourage too much mowing.
#4 Change Direction
I’m sure you’ve gotten tired of mowing the same way over and over again. Well, guess what? So does your lawn! Keeping the same mowing routine can actually compact soil and produce ruts among other problems. Switch up your routine and go the opposite direction that you’re used to mowing. Shake things up for both you, and your grass.
#5 Protect from Wear and Tear
Whether we’re running around with the dogs, playing sports, or just simply gardening, our grass gets a lot more traffic in the summer months. This can result in brown patches or even dead grass.
If you have a heavily-used yard, you may want to take extra precautions to preserve that soft green grass you love to spend so much time on. While it can be difficult to entirely prevent, you can do a few things to manage the impact. For one, you can add walkways to help encourage traffic away from the grass. You can also use signs or fences to discourage people from walking on certain areas. This is particularly useful when you are seeding grass.