Tips to keep your lawn looking lush this summer!
1. Aerate: Lawns are highly trafficked--especially during the summer. All that walking, playing and mowing compact the soil which hinders drainage and can even prevent air flow to the roots. To keep the air circulating, rent an aerator, or pick up a handheld version from a local hardware store. The process puts tiny holes in your lawn allowing your grass to spread out and breath.
2. Mow: Trim your grass once weekly with your mower blades at their highest setting. Cutting your lawn too short will leave it susceptible to scorching. If you have a mulching mower the trimmings will be cut up into tiny pieces and left behind on your lawn. If not, use a rake to spread the cuttings around--withing reason. Leaving the cut grass on your lawn acts as a fertilizer, returning nutrients to the soil. If the clippings are overwhelming however, make sure to remove some so they do not stifle new growth.
3. Water: If you've just laid new sod, or have a "young" lawn (freshly seeded), be sure to keep it watered during dry spells. Otherwise, watering your lawn is not normally necessary. Once rain has seeped in the color will come back to life quickly. During especially long dry spells, avoid cutting your grass if possible. The longer blades will shade and help protect the roots.
4. Dry: Water is obviously important to lawn growth-too little and your grass will dry out, too much and it will drown. If you have been experiencing as much rainfall as our area has, the latter is the more pressing concern. During these wet times, it is best not to mow at all. The weight of your mower will compact the soil, undoing all the progress you made aerating the soil. Wet, water soaked trimmings will not fertilize your soil as they should, but instead will act as a "wet blanket" choking out roots. It's best to wait out the rain and proceed with mowing when there is a nice, sunny weekend forecasted.
5. Fertilize: Once or twice a year use a granular or liquid fertilizer on your lawn. Think of the fertilizer as vitamins for your lawn--it helps keep the roots healthy, and grass growing vibrantly. Remember, if it does not rain within three days of application, it is important to spray down the lawn to allow the fertilizer to soak in.