Sacramento, California experiences some hot summers, and unfortunately, many lawn owners simply do not know how to handle the heat with thier summer lawn care. Lawn care options do exist for these hot months, and with a few extra practices put into place, your lawn in Sacramento will be looking beautifully green all summer long. Here are some summer lawn care tips for Sacramento.
In most cases, it is recommended to not mow your lawn too frequently in the summer. Since Sacramento experiences a longer, hotter summer than most areas in the country, the common grass types themselves are more suited to the hot weather.
Most grasses used for lawns in the valley are warm season grasses. Warm season grass types in Sacramento includes bahia, St. Augustine, zoysia, bermuda, and centipede. These grasses tend to grow the most during hot summer months, meaning mowing during the summer will simply become a necessity. While your warm season grasses are growing at this rate, it is not uncommon for good mowing practices to include mowing once every 5 to 7 days at the peak of growth rates.
If your lawn has more cool season grasses than warm season ones, it is best to avoid mowing as much as possible during the summer. These grass types include fescue variteties, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass. Cool season grasses tend to grow most during the spring and fall, and usually slow growth down due to oppressive heat. If your lawn has cool season grasses, mow your lawn only once every 7 to 14 days, and be careful not to cut your lawn too short to avoid sun damage. To find the right mowing height for your grasses check out our Grass guide specifically for Sacramento Valley.
Mulching your lawn clippings is also recommended, if you have a mulching lawn mower capable of shredding grass clippings into small enough sizes. This technique is called grasscycling, and can actually reduce the need for fertilizer on your lawn by 20% if done correctly. Just be sure not to leave any piles of grass clippings, as they can suffocate the grasses beneath, causing brown spots.
During hot months, watering your lawn is a necessity. One of the most common difficulties associated with summer watering is that plants just don’t seem to take in enough water and end up browning or wilting. It can also be difficult when it comes to complying with Sacramento's watering ordinances, that are currently at 2 days per week. In order to avoid wilting grass and to deal with restrictions, try watering your lawn between 2 and 8 in the morning, to avoid water losses due to evaporation. Your goal when watering is to have the water reach as deep as 6 to 8 inches into the soil, to encourage deep healthy root system growth.
Another major problem associated with watering in the summer is overwatering. Overwatering your lawn can end up compacting the soil, stopping grasses from reaching all the nutrients they need. This can weaken your lawn grasses, making them susceptible to diseases. To avoid this issue, wait for the soil to dry in between waterings, checking to make sure that the soil is dry 1 to 2 inches down. Once this occurs, it is safe to water your lawn again.
Fertilization can be the most important factor when growing out your lawn. For Sacramento Valley, it is recommended that you fertilize with complete fertilizer (containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) once either during late May or early June. Warm season grasses will actually tend to display better, greener colors once the weather turns cool if they were fertilized correctly during warmer months.
In order to apply fertilizer, ensure that you deeply water your lawn the day before you apply any fertilizers. When applying your fertilizer, it is recommended that you apply anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds of fertilizer per 1000 square feet per year, separating this into 3 or 4 separate applications. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly, and use slow-release fertilizers to prevent leaching, or the draining of nutrients deep into the soil and groundwater. To avoid fertilizer runoff, do not overwater while fertilizer is present.
Need help tending to your lawn? Visit our Sacramento lawn care page for more information! In addition to Sacramento, we provide service to California cities including San Diego, Santa Rosa, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Riverside.