Protecting your Lawn & Yard from Summer Stress and Pests.

Mowing Lawns in the summer – Virtually all of our lawns are 100% cool season grasses.  They thrive during the cooler seasons of the year (spring and fall) and struggle during potentially hot and dry summers.  Although grass will continue to grow in the summer with ample moisture, growth is from the ground up, with significantly reduced root growth.   So, summer mowing should be aimed toward protecting crowns and roots of our lawns.  By raising mower decks to 3½” -4” mowing height, your lawn will better survive difficult (heat, drought) conditions.  The longer grass blades will shade the plants’ crowns, the lawn will maintain a deeper green color, and soil moisture will be better preserved.  Keep mower blades sharp to reduce turf disease.  As temperatures rise and meaningful rainfall is reduced, reduce mowing frequency to reduce the mower traffic on the lawn.  You may go 10-14 days (or more) between mowings, and that’s fine.

Watering lawns in the Summer – Again, these are cool season grasses in our lawns.  They struggle when the temperatures are high.  There is nothing wrong with having your lawn go dormant in the summer when we get less frequent rainfall.  Dormancy is the way grass protects itself during times of stress.  Sure, we’d prefer that lawns be emerald green all summer, while we’re spending lots of time outside, but let Mother Nature dictate when the grass is green in the summer.  The only lawn watering I encourage is the watering of new or young lawns that haven’t yet been able to establish a good root system yet and lawns exhibiting signs of wilt (bluish-gray cast to the grass & footprints don’t bounce back when walked on) if dry conditions persist.  For those of you who water lawns during hot, dry periods, please only water in the early morning hours.  Never water late in the day or in the evening, this’ll extend the period of leaf wetness and promote turf diseases.  And when you do water, water for at least 30 minutes per spot, so the water can get into the root zones.  Then rotate the sprinklers to cover larger areas.  Watering this way, you’ll only have to water an area once a week.

Fertilizing Lawns in the June – We always recommend early summer fertilizing as a normal part of our 4 feedings/year program.  This year, because of the dry May, we more strongly recommend early summer feeding with our safe organic-based, slow-release turf fertilizer.  Lawns have gone prematurely off color because of the dry conditions this year.  If we return to normal rainfall conditions, lawns will recover faster with a feeding in place.  Apply during June, and let nature activate it. 

Grubs and Other Lawn Insect Controls in June – As we have been advising for years, control grubs every year.  The safest and most effective way of controlling grubs is with a preventative approach.  Lawn repairs from grub damage are expensive and labor intensive.  Apply MALLET/MERIT now, before the beetles lay their eggs, so the lawn is protected from damage once egg hatch occurs later in the summer.  We have MALLET as a combination product with our organic-based, slow-release turf fertilizer, or MERIT as a straight grub control product if you don’t want to fertilize with any nitrogen.

For those of you who want to prevent grubs for the entire growing season and control myriad of other nuisance and damaging insects in the garden (such as mosquitos, ticks, fleas, ants, and other surface lawn insects), you can control both surface and sub-surface insects with BIO-ADVANCED COMPLETE INSECT CONTROL.  This product will control grubs for the remainder of the growing season and, in addition, will control all surface insects for 30 days.  So, you get the assurance of both above-ground and underground insect control with one single product.

Liquid Broadleaf Weed Control in June – Controlling broadleaf weeds during dry spells is definitely more challenging.  Just like the grass slows its growth to conserve resources, so do the weeds.  So, for effective control of warm-weather perennial weeds, such as clover, plantain, oxalis, wild strawberries, and others, it’s important to use liquid weed control to get the best coverage on the foliage of the weeds.  Adding a spreader-sticker to your mix will further improve your results by reducing the surface tension of water (improving coverage).  Be sure when you apply liquid broadleaf weed control that the air temperature at the time of application is not above 85 degrees, and that rain is not in the forecast.  Do not mow the lawn for 24 hours after treatment to allow the weed control to be absorbed by the weeds.

Yellow Nutsedge Control in Lawns and Beds – Yellow Nutsedge is actually a sedge, not a grass or broadleaf weed.  It is yellow-green, grows in both lawns (particularly in low or wet areas) and planting beds.  It is a perennial weed and spreads by underground tubers (called nutlets) and rhizomes.  Yellow nutsedge is controllable, but it requires persistence.  Distinctively faster growing than grass, with a triangular stem, yellow nutsedge is best controlled when sprayed soon after it sprouts. It will spread with a vengeance if left untreated.  The only way to really gain control over nutsedge is to spot treat it whenever you see it with either SEDGEHAMMER or SEDGE ENDER herbicide, both of which are sold at The Lawn Depot. 

Post-Emergence Crabgrass Control – If you didn’t apply DIMENSION crabgrass control in April or May, or if you notice that you may have missed an area and you have some crabgrass breakthrough along streets, driveways or other areas where the turf is weak, we have POST-EMERGENCE CRABGRASS CONTROLS (BioAdvanced Extreme Crabgrass Killer, Quincept) that are easy to use and very effective.  You can treat larger areas or spot treat as needed. 

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