The cold is gone, and it’s bright outside late enough to actually enjoy some time in the yard after work. But you now face a new dilema: the yard won’t look nice without some work, and no one wants to spend time in a beat-up backyard.
Fear not! This article will help you learn more about the grass in your yard – and if it’s right for your area and use. We’ll also help you with some tips for more efficent mowing, watering and weed prevention. Let’s get started!
Find Out What Variety of Grass You Have
Before starting with lawn care, you need to know what variety of grass you have. The region you live in often determines if it is a cool-season or warm-season grass.
Cool-season grasses grow best at maximum temperatures of 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. The grass is green and grows during Spring and Fall.
Examples of cool-season grasses are
- Perennial ryegrass
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Tall Fescue
Warm-season grasses prefer hotter temperatures – up to 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good choice for dry and drought-prone areas because the variety requires less water than the cool-season grasses.
Examples of warm-season grasses are
- St Augustine grass
- Zoysia grasses
- Centipede grass
The transition zone is the most challenging area to select the right grass. Tall fescue is a type of grass that stays green most of the year. It is an excellent choice for the transitional zone because tall fescue can handle hot and cold climates.
Tall fescue and other grasses that grow in the transitional zone are:
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Zoysia grass
Different locations in your yard demand different grasses
You should also take into account were in your yard or garden the grass will be growing. Within each climate, different grasses do better under trees than say, next to lakes, rivers or the ocean.
- Fine-leaf fescues and most St Augustine grasses grow in shady areas.
- Buffalo grass is often the option for drought areas and salty soil.
- For high-traffic lawns, Perennial grasses, Kentucky grass, and Bermuda grass work well.
- For sandy coastal regions, Salam Seashore Paspalum grass may be the solution.
For the best result plant, the variety of grass that works best in the climate you live in. Mixing grass varieties isn’t always the best option. It may result in an uneven lawn with patches of various shades of green and different grass heights.
What Climate Are You In?
Cool-season grasses prefer cooler, moist temperatures. The southern parts of the country are too hot for these grasses, also known as C3 plants. C3 grasses photosynthesis process performs optimally in colder climates.
Warm-season grasses, or C4 grasses, have a different photosynthesis process than the cool-season grasses. This is why they prefer hotter, drier climates to thrive. These varieties are commonly planted in the southern parts of the country.
The transitional zone of the U.S. climate may represent both the hot and cold regions. Here, gardeners often overseed, to compensate for struggling grass. The summers may be too hot for the cool-season grasses, and the colder temperatures may result in brown warm-season grasses.
Manage Those Pesky Yard Annoyances With Ease
Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weeds from sprouting, but it also affects new grass seedlings. The best time to use pre-emergent herbicides is during the Summer or Winter when the grass is dormant. If you’re not planning to reseed or plant grass during Spring, then it’s safe to use pre-emergent herbicides at that time.
Be careful with any products applied to a Summer lawn. Heat and dryness cause stress to the grass. Adding too much or the wrong herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers may cause more damage than good.
To control broadleaf weeds like dandelions and clover without harming the grass, apply post-emergent herbicides. Wait for cooler weather; the heat shouldn’t reach temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a few days.
The dry summer heat is breeding ground for various types of insects and fungi. How do you combat infestations that don’t disappear by itself?
- Fungicides should take care of mildew and brown patches.
- Midsummer is the best time to control grubs.
- Control pests like fire ants and fleas with appropriate pesticides. Not all pesticides work as well. For fire ants, you want to get rid of the queen. Flea pesticides often affect other insects too.
- Chinch bugs and various worms are attracted to dry stressed grass. Chinch bugs dry out the grass blades even more and then releases a poison that kills it. Treat the whole lawn, not just the infected part to get rid of chinch bugs.
Should I Use Fertilizer? If so, What Type?
Overfertilizing during the Summer is easy to accidentally do. Too much fertilizer burns the lawn and can kill the new shoots. Fertilizer stimulates growth. If you fertilize during the summer new grass shoots come up that aren’t strong enough to survive the heat.
Cool-season grasses don’t need fertilizer in the Summer months during the dormant season. Fertilize warm-season grasses if its green.
Avoid fertilizing in the summer heat. The last fertilizing effort should be a month before the teeth od the summer heat. Most fertilizers need a fresh application after three months. Make sure you fertilize in Spring so that the 3-month cycle is early Summer, before the heatwaves. Use slow releasing fertilizers like an organic fertilizer to minimize the changes of burning the lawn.
Grass Cutting Height for Summer
The higher the grass cutting height the better in the Summer. Tall grass provides shade to the soil which means the water trapped within doesn’t evaporate as fast. The higher the grass grows, the deeper the roots. Deep roots make the grass more drought tolerant and stronger to survive winter and disease. It also prevents less sprouting of weeds which keeps weeds under control.
Cut cool-season grasses as high as the lawn mower blade can. It shouldn’t be lower than three to four inches. Cut warm-season grasses shorter than the cool-season grasses but not too short. Two to three inches is a solid grass cutting height for warm-season grasses.
Minimize the stress on the grass by cutting with sharp mower blades.
Water Amounts and Timing?
How, when and how much water you give the grass during the Summer could be what saves the lawn. Grass needs deep roots to survive the heat of Summer and the cold during Winter. If you don’t soak the yard deep enough, the roots are forced to grow shallow.
Water six to eight inches deep to reach all the roots. It means 1-inch water. If you water half an inch 2-3 times per week, you should reach the 1-inch water per week.
Watering the lawn regularly is essential, but the amount of water is more important than the frequency. If you often water but only for a few minutes, the water doesn’t reach the roots; only the top part of the soil is wet. To soak the soil, water for about a half an hour at a time twice a week rather than 10 minutes daily. Light watering wastes water and doesn’t help the lawn.
The best practice is to water the lawn early in the morning before the heat of the day and the wind starts blowing. High temperature and wind evaporate the water faster. During the Summer, the moisture provided if watering at night could stimulate fungicide growth.
Tips For A Quick Green Lawn
To overcome the challenge of having a lush green lawn, try the following tips:
- Mow the lawn every 3-4 days to thicken it. Keep within the cutting limit of one-third of the grass height.
- Water the lawn for longer than 30 minutes twice a week. Make sure you reach a soaking depth of 6-8 inches to stimulate deep root growth.
- Apply a fertilizer with high nitrogen content and water well afterward. Nitrogen stimulates growth but may burn the grass too, especially in the Summer. Limit application to once or twice during the Summer.
- Add an iron supplement when the temperature is lower than 70 degrees for a deeper green color. It’s best to apply the iron supplement during Spring when it isn’t so hot.
- Pieces of sod will provide green grass quicker in brown spots than overseeding. Prepare the ground by removing dead grass and loosening the soil.