An afternoon working out in the lawn can be very rewarding. A nice spring day. Birds chirping away. A slight breeze. It can be a very zen-like experience. Now fast forward two months to the dog days of summer. As the boys from Jersey Shore would say, fuh-gettaboud-it. Working outside during a DMV summer is like … well … work! No matter how diligent you were caring for the lawn in spring, summer maintenance is inevitable. Summer annual weeds, drought stress, diseases and grubs all require attention that eats away at your 'me' time. Here are some quick tips to help with these lawn to-do's.
If you want the grass to maintain a nice green color through summer, you'll have to water. When you do water, you will want to water deeply 2-3 times a week early in the morning. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, good for you. Unless it's a SMART system though, one that automatically adjusts with changes in weather, you will have to program it properly to compete with the summer heat. If you don't have a sprinkler system … I am sooooo sorry but you have even more work to do.
The most efficient way to water our heavy clay soils in NOVA is to understand that all sprinklers (automatic or dragged around at the end of a hose) water faster than the soil can absorb it. If the sprinkler waters faster than the soil can take it in, common sense tells us that watering past that point is wasteful. To increase efficiency, let the initial watering soak in for an hour or so and then water a second time.
As far as bugs go, there are a number that cause problems, chief among them are the larvae of beetles … grubs. A systemic insect control provides the best protection. Once watered in, it is taken up by the grass plants and when an insect goes to feed, it ceases to be a problem. Systemic controls are also more selective so as to not harm beneficial insects.
Controlling lawn disease is a summer-long battle. Our typical summer weather of 90+ degrees, high humidity and frequent evening thunderstorms creates perfect conditions for most fungal problems. Week in, week out the best defense against lawn disease is proper mowing (cutting at 3+", keeping the mower blade sharp, bagging clippings) and watering (morning irrigation, watering deeply but not too often). During severe outbreaks, however, you may have to use fungicide. At that time you should seek professional advice as identifying the type of fungus is key to successful eradication.
Weed n' Feed
The best weed prevention is a nice thick lawn, so if you're able to keep the grass growing well you should not run into many weeds. But any weeds that do show up should be dealt with quickly to avoid their spread. Proper identification is again important so you are sure to select the right weed control for spot applications.
During the heat of summer, little if any nitrogen fertilizer needs to be applied. The main component of feedings throughout the year, nitrogen, is what greens up the lawn and stimulates leaf growth. Fertilizer should be applied but it should be high in potassium. Potash, a water-soluble source of potassium, has shown to make the turf more resistant to drought stress and disease infestation.
When it comes to your lawn this summer, it turns out that you have jobs that require timely attention and probably little inclination to do them yourself. In addition, there is the actual ‘stuff' you'll need to know to properly do these things you don't want to do. Jeez, I think the moral of this story writes itself … call Bio Green to take care of this summer lawn care business and start a new, more fun 'to do' list like taking the family to a Nats game or a weekend at the beach.