Lawns in June, July, and August

Lawns in June, July, and August

Mowing | Watering | Weed Control | Fertilizing | Grub Prevention | Yellow Nutsedge | Crabgrass

Mowing Lawns in the Summer

In the spring and fall, when growing conditions are ideal for cool weather turf, we recommend that lawns be mowed at 3-3 ½”, and that (if possible) mowing be done every 4-5 days.  This is because the grass is growing rapidly, and we don’t want to cut off any more than 1/3 of the blade with each mowing.  This way, you’ll keep the lawns neat and lush, and won’t be leaving bunches of clippings on the mown surface.  If you don’t wish to mow every 4-5 days in the spring & fall, we recommend that you mow at 3 ½ -4” height every 7 days. 

In the summer months, when daytime temperatures regularly exceed 85 degrees, nighttime temps stay in the 60s and 70s, cool weather grasses (all types of grasses we grow in our lawns) do not produce any roots, no matter how much or whether we water the lawns.  With the hot daytime sun beating down on the tender plant crowns (bases) lawns quickly suffer heat stress. Blades dry out, growth slackens significantly, and lawns lose color.  Before this happens to your lawn, we recommend that you raise your mower decks to a cutting height of 4-4 ½” and reduce the frequency of mowing to every 7-10+ days.  If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be amazed at how much better your lawn looks all summer. It will also recover faster in September, when growing conditions return to those more conducive to cool season grasses.

Watering Lawns in the Summer

First, let me state my case: I am not a fan of watering lawns in the summer, except under dire circumstances (new or young grass, lawns suffering from drought/heat stress).  For healthy lawns, little good is achieved by regularly watering lawns when growing conditions are poor.  Watering only produces top growth, which makes lawns more susceptible to heat stress and lawn disease.  And, it necessitates more frequent mowing, which, as mentioned above, is not good for the lawns in summer. 

That being said, I accept the fact that some of you really like lush green lawns when we’re outside in the summer.  So, if, for whatever reason, you choose to water your lawns in summer conditions, water deeply in one spot (30-45 minutes), then move to another spot and repeat.  At least then, you’ll be getting the water into the root zones of the plants.  Light watering only reaches the blades, and does the grass plants no good at all. 

Also, only water areas once or twice a week, not every day.  Try to do it in the early morning (finished by 8:00 am – 9:00 am), before the dew burns off.  This way, the blades will not stay wet later into the day and the risk of turf disease will be minimized.  The goal is to not make the grass wet for any longer than it already is from the dew that forms most evenings.

Broadleaf Weed Control with Liquid TRIMEC Herbicide in JUNE

As long as there is sufficient soil moisture (dandelions, clover, etc.) will continue to grow/thrive.  In dry spells, weeds, like grass, will slow its growth and be more resistant to taking in the weed control.  As long as the leaves are actively growing, you will get an excellent kill of all broadleaf perennial weeds.  Make sure that, at the time of application, the air temperature is below 85 degrees, or you could damage the desirable grasses.  And check to be sure that rain is not in the forecast for at least 8-12 hours after application; the herbicide is absorbed through leaves and shallow roots, so rain immediately after application will reduce absorption.  Also, do not mow lawns 24 hours before or after application in order to maximize absorption.

Fertilizing Lawns in June

We recommend that lawns be fed 4 times a year: early spring, late spring, early fall, and late fall, just before winter dormancy.  Most lawns have not been fed since April at this time.  Because of the significant spring growth and profuse seed production, lawns are now pretty well out of fuel.  The turf food we recommend for early summer is a slow-release, organic-based nitrogen fertilizer.  It will subtly green the lawn without stimulating significant top growth. 

Grub PREVENTION with MALLET/MERIT Granular Insecticide

Japanese Beetles lay their eggs in grassy areas of lawns in late June and July, when they emerge from lawns.  These eggs hatch in August, September and early October into grubs (1/2” long, off-white, semi-circular worms). These tiny grubs then feed in the shallow root zone of lawn grasses.  Because lawns are coming out of summer dormancy and are not producing roots, hungry grubs can devastate healthy turf.  Further, this damage is not easily spotted in the early fall because the lawns are usually still off-color from the summer heat. By the time the damage is identified, it is late in the growing season, and full recovery is problematic.  THE BEST WAY TO BE SURE THAT YOU WILL NEVER SUFFER GRUB DAMAGE TO YOUR LAWN IS TO APPLY A SAFE, PREVENATIVE GRUB CONTROL BEFORE THE BEETLES EMERGE.  Apply MALLET or MERIT granular insecticide every late spring or early summer! You can be confident that you’ll suffer no grub-related grub damage in the fall.  If you haven’t already applied your MALLET, do it now, and water it in thoroughly to activate it.  MALLET/MERIT is available with or without slow-release, organic-based nitrogen fertilizer

Yellow Nutsedge Control in Lawns and Beds

Yellow Nutsedge is a yellow-green, fast-growing, grass-like weed that grows easily in areas of lawns and beds in hot weather.  In lawns it is most prevalent in low or wet areas, but it can grow anywhere. It is difficult to eliminate unless the homeowner is relentless in pulling it or spraying it as soon as and as long as it is growing.  TRIMEC cannot control Nutsedge, as it is not a broadleaf weed. DIMENSION also doesn’t help, as Nutsedge is not an annual. Nutsedge, literally is a reed (or sedge) grass which emerges from a shallow tuber, just below the soil surface.  By the time it reaches the soil surface, it is a growing plant and cannot be controlled pre-emergently. Nutsedge is best controlled by a liquid herbicide (PROSEDGE or SEDGE ENDER), sprayed directly on the plant as soon as it is seen, and as often as it is seen.  Not all nuts emerge at the same time; it’s a continuing process (they’re easy to pull) as they emerge.  Spray Larger patches regularly.

Post-Emergence Crabgrass Control

If you didn’t apply DIMENSION pre-emergent crabgrass control in April or early May, there are a couple of excellent products at the Lawn Depot that you can spray on the growing plants and kill only the crabgrass. Even if you applied another product with a shorter effective period and see crabgrass breakthrough in areas of your lawn. No damage to good grasses.  Ask one of our staff for POST-EMERGENCE CRABGRASS CONTROL.

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