Summer in Pittsburgh, PA is a true treat, a much-needed refuge from the ice and snow of the months before. Maintaining your lawn is likely the top item on your summer landscaping to-do list, but it can be challenging during the hot, dry conditions of summer. By following this handy summer lawn care guide, you will be sure to have the most verdant lawn in town–even during those final dog days.
1. Pick the right grasses
Cool season grass types are best planted when the air temperatures are in the sixties, while warm-season grasses are planted when the weather is about ten degrees warmer. Think about your area’s climate when selecting your grass, and keep n mind that warm-season grass types need to be fertilized during the summer months.
Before summer really kicks off, you should also try to fertilize your lawn if it needs it. Spring feeding must be done before May, but after the last frost. Spring feeding encourages plants to grow rapidly, particularly if the summer is hot and dry. If you are reseeding or seeding for the first time, you should definitely consider seeding to help encourage new growth.
2. Mow early
Mow early in the spring, taking care to trim it to the desired level. Don’t start mowing until the yard has dried, as foot and mower traffic can compact wet soil and damage new grass shoots. Try to mow for the first time at a third of the blade’s length. Don’t wait until it has grown taller than this.
And speaking of early, this rule applies to the time of day you should mow, as well. Always mow in the morning. Grass that has received hot afternoon sun can be damaged and brittle, so if you mow it late in the day you risk fraying the tips.
3. Keep your lawn neat and tidy
If possible, train your dog to use the same section of lawn each time he goes. Dog urination can cause dead spots and create an uneven appearance. You should also avoid parking on the grass to prevent compaction, and pick up any tows, lawn chairs, or tools left on the lawn to avoid damaging the developing grass.
As for those grass clippings? No need to rake. If you leave them on the lawn, they can help refertilize and reseed the area.
4. Get rid of weeds
Try to weed a couple of times during the week. Weeds can completely destroy the immaculate appearance of your lawn, and also affect the healthy growth of your grass. Inspect for weeds regularly and remove them right way. You can also apply a pre-emergent weed control in late spring if weeds tend to be a problem for you, with a second (optional) application during the summer months.
5. Reseed as needed
If you notice bare patches on your lawn, reseed them in the early summer. While seeding is a good suggestion for spring lawn care as well, it can often be difficult to tell if your lawn needs any TLC until the grass has already begun to green–which, in Pittsburgh, can sometimes take a while!
6. Water in the wee hours
Water your lawn deeply, but infrequently. The best time to water is between six and ten in the morning, before the sun has reached its maximum intensity. This will prevent water from evaporating as quickly. Watering at night can promote fungal growth. Try to water two or three times a week, with a soaking of about half an inch each time.
7. Let it grow
It might be tempting to cut your grass short so that you don’t have to mow as often, but it’s better to let it grow tall. The higher the grass blades are, the better they are at taking in sunlight, nutrients, and water. It also helps by acting as its own mulch, preventing moisture from evaporating as quickly as it might with shorter blades. Letting grass grow taller also helps its roots extend deep into the soil, preventing the development of weeds and resisting erosion.
8. Tackle pests
Treat for pests like Japanese beetles and June bugs in midsummer. Eggs hatch in July and August, so treatments are best applied in May or June. Other pest infestations, like ants, can be treated in the spring.
Maintaining a lush, green summer lawn be tricky. However, by following this easy-to-use lawn care guide, you’ll be enjoying a gorgeous landscape in no time. If you need additional help tending to your lawn this summer, visit our Pittsburgh lawn care page for more info.
Feature image source: Zillow