NW Indiana Summer Lawn Care Tips – Easy!
I dunno about you guys, but I am completely excited that summer is in full swing now. Pool parties, some refreshing Crown Brewing beer, and live music festivals all spell the signs of fun during the hot months. But what about your lawn? Will it survive heat and drought stress? Are you concerned about grub worms in your NW Indiana lawn? Can you trample it during a bags tournament and still expect it to stand up thick and lush? Here are some super important, yet simple tips for keeping that grass green all summer long!
Lawn Irrigation – Consistency Is Key
I know you have heard it before, but have you actually done it? You have to make a conscious decision to keep your lawn properly watered during the summer. You can’t decide to irrigate this week, let the lawn go for 2 weeks, and then start watering again! If you do that, you will thin your lawn out big time. Either let it go dormant (brown) during July and August, or keep it green by watering.
If you do plan to irrigate regularly, follow these simple tips:
1) If you use a hose and your own sprinkler, water 3x per week for one hour in each spot or zone (that should give you about 1/2″ of water each session). If you have an underground irrigation system, then set the zones to come on 3 times per week for about 35 minutes per zone. (not that 10 minutes per zone that you have it set on now!!!) The key is to “water deep,” and use a sprinkler that throws water in larger droplets and keeps them low to the ground to avoid off-target drift.
2) Irrigate in the mornings only to avoid fungus. If you water your lawn during hot evenings, the leftover moisture allows fungus to grow in the roots and crowns of grass plants during the warm overnight. However, if you water in the AM, then the grass drinks what it needs, and the rest is evaporated away with the morning sun. Cool eh?
3) I kinda touched on this above, but you have to water consistently. Keep to a schedule and don’t change it. Your lawn will respond to regular watering and become accustomed to staying healthy on that schedule.
Mow Tall – Mow VERY Tall
I gave ya’ll some mowing tips earlier in the spring, but feel I need to give you a refresher because as I drive around Lake County, I see many of you scalping the mess outta your grass! You guys gotta stop that! I know you don’t like the look of the lawn when its cut tall, but you will get used to it!
The reason we mow tall (3” or more) is because of these reasons:
1) Taller mowed grass shades the root system, keeping it cooler during the hot part of the day. If the roots get too hot, they get stressed and can die.
2) Taller mowed grass has more leaf area available to perform photosynthesis. Remember what that is from your 8th grade biology classes? Photosynthesis is how plants make food (sugars) that are used to thicken up the lawn overall!
3) Taller mowed grass retains moisture. By chance if we get a few days in the upper 90s, your grass mowed taller will hold soil moisture longer, keeping it from drying out.
Fertilize – Slow Release
I am a big fan of organic lawn fertilizers. It’s not because I am concerned about environmental issues or anything like that … it is because organic fertilizers work better in the long run!
Now I don’t have time to get into all the “ins and outs’ or lawn fertilizers, but I will tell you that organic/natural fert is going to release nutrients slowly over time. Slow releasing nutrients means the lawn gets what it needs without pushing a rush of growth. The last thing we want in the summer is a growth spurt. Instead, we want slow, sustained, healthy growth and organics give us that!
Another advantage to organics is they do not need to be watered in to activate. Organics break down with heat, releasing naturally.
Got any questions? Blast them away in the comments below… that is what Around Crown Point is all about – positive interactions – (and green lawns! LOL)
(yes, those are my pretty feet enjoying a the feeling of soft grass beneath)