When taking care of your lawn, the type of grass you have determines the timing of almost every lawn care practice put into place. With summers in Grand Rapids having warm days followed by cold nights, the only grass types that truly thrive in the area are cool season turfs. Having a cool season grass type means that lawn care during the summer tends to be less intensive than during the spring or fall. However, this does not mean you should stop taking care of your lawn altogether, as certain lawn care practices during this time can be vital to the health of your turf in later seasons. To adequately prepare your yard for the upcoming growing season, follow these lawn care tips and the grass will look healthier and thicker than ever before.
While cool season grasses tend to require less water and care during the summer, this does not mean you should stop watering your lawn altogether. During any dry spells or heat waves, it is still essential to water your lawn with light and frequent waterings, due to grasses having shorter root systems in the heat. Cool season grasses tend to go dormant and turn brown when not watered, and the grass will die if it is deprived of moisture for long enough.
For the best watering practices, water your lawn during the morning, as late waterings can cause the lawn to remain wet during the night, allowing fungi to grow rampantly. During this season, water your lawn so that the moisture penetrates about two inches down into the soil about once a week, and during unusually dry and hot periods, add an extra half inch of water every 2 to 3 weeks. During a heat wave, this will not stop your lawn from browning; however, it will prevent your turfgrasses from dying off.
Due to grasses in the Grand Rapids area being dormant during the summer, it is best not to fertilize until the weather begins getting cooler. An application of nitrogen-only fertilizer at the end of August or beginning of September can help kickstart your lawn’s growth as it enters its growing season in the fall. However, you should only apply this fertilizer if your lawn is not dormant at this time. If your turf still displays a brownish color, fertilizing will not serve its intended purpose. When selecting which fertilizer to use at this time, choose a fertilizer mix specially made for summer use. These fertilizers can contain 25 to 50 percent less nitrogen than usual, as the grasses will not need as much fertilizer as they would during the growing season.
Grubs found in lawns tend to finish their growth cycles around late June in Grand Rapids. These grubs most commonly turn into Japanese beetles or European chafers in the area, and when they lay their eggs underground in late July, grubs will begin feeding on turfgrass roots, which can be devastating to a lawn. Pesticide application during this stage is crucial when grubs are small enough. Besides, a watered turf during the summer will be more resistant to grub damage than an unwatered one, be sure not to overwater. As another measure of protection against these lawn killers, try raising the height of your lawn mower blades during this time, allowing the grass to grow longer. Raising the mower height will allow the turf to develop thicker and healthier root system, which are much more resistant to grub damage as well.
During these hot months, mowing can be a crucial step to help your lawn remain healthy. Try raising the blades on your mower for this season, as longer grass blades lead to deeper root systems, less water loss, and less evaporation from waterings. Beyond this, allowing your grasses to grow longer than usual also helps prevent weed germination in the area, and prevents dirt patches from developing naturally. Try mowing your lawn at around 3 inches in height during the summer, be sure to never cut more than a third of your grass height off at a time.
If you reside in Grand Rapids, learn more about how Grand Rapids Lawn Care can take care of your lawn needs this summer!
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