Lawns are the pride and joy of many homeowners. We groom them and care for them, and they provide us with a lovely outdoor space we can enjoy while the sun shines down. Unfortunately, that same sun can be tough on grass. From intense heat to dry spells and even drought, keeping our lawns lush all summer long can be a challenge.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a set summer lawn care routine.
We’ve put together this lawn care guide detailing all the little – and big – things you can do during the summer to ensure the grass is always greener on THIS side.
Brush up on spring lawn care with our Florida Lawn Care in the Spring article.
Here’s what you need to know about your lawn
Not every lawn is the same. Did you know, for example, that there are many different types of grass? How often it rains and how well the lawn drains will also impact your lawn’s health throughout the summer. So, before you set up your lawn-care regime, here’s what you should find out about your lawn:
Which grass type do you have?
Some grass types thrive in hot weather climates found in Southern Florida, while others prefer the more temperate climes of Northern Florida.
Which do you have?
This is important not only for knowing how frequently you’ll need to water your lawn but also if you ever need to reseed.
How often does it rain in your area?
If your region tends to get plenty of rainfall during the summer months, you don’t need to water your lawn as often as someone in a drought-prone area. So, when you’re following this guide, keep in mind that the watering advice will need to be tailored to your area and the current conditions.
How long do you need to run your sprinklers when you water your lawn?
Sprinkler systems, proper drainage, and more are all vital to your lawn’s health. Make sure that, when you water your lawn or when it rains heavily, the water is soaked up or has somewhere to go and doesn’t pool in one place.
One way to be sure you don’t over water is to find out how long you should run your sprinklers. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Sarasota County horticulture agent Marguerite Beckford suggested to Sarasota Magazine’s Allison Forsyth that we measure our sprinkler’s water output.
Try the following to get your timing right:
- Place straight-sided cans around the outside edge of your lawn or sprinkler range
- Start a timer and turn on your sprinklers
- Stop the timer when the cans are half or three-quarter inches full
- That time is how long you should run your sprinklers for when you water your lawn.
Now, onto the guide!
Early Summer – May and June
When summer starts in May, it can be easy to assume your lawn will be just fine on its own. After all, it bounced back nicely after the cooler winter months.
Here’s the thing.
If you start your proper lawn care regime NOW, your lawn will be stronger and healthy when the extreme summer heat hits.
That’s why in May and June, you should make it a point to do the following:
Fertilize your grass, if needed
Warm and hot weather grass needs extra nutrients in the spring, right when summer starts up. If you’re in South Florida, now might be the perfect time to feed your lawn.
Beckford says May is the best time to fertilize; she advises using a fertilizer advertised as “50 percent slow release.” (Find out more about lawn fertilization in our blog post.)
Before you fertilize – check your area’s restrictions. Some regions restrict the type of fertilization you can use during specific months. These restrictions are in place to prevent chemicals from leaching into the groundwater.
Of course, when in doubt, consult a professional! We’d be happy to help you – just give us a call.
Mow high and only when necessary
Grass is not like hair. You might think that cutting as short as possible will mean you don’t need to mow the lawn as often. But what you could be doing is making it harder for your grass to grow.
Instead, you should let your grass grow as high as you can before you mow.
“The higher the grass blades, the deeper and healthier the root system below is,” says Beckford. “If blades are short, less green tissue is available to produce food, meaning you have an unhealthy root system.”
Short grass with weak root systems is vulnerable to disease, drought, and infestations. The University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions recommends you never remove more than 1/3 of your grass’s height.
So, now that we know what height to keep our lawns, here are a few other tips from The University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions:
- Keep your mower blades sharp: you should have them sharpened after around 10 hours of mowing
- Stick to a regular mowing schedule
- Leave grass clippings on the ground: they act as compost and feed your lawn
- Don’t mow when your lawn is wet
- If you’re away or your lawn is overgrown for some reason, bring the height down slowly – follow the 1/3 rule!
Get rid of pests, diseases, and weeds, if needed
Grass is delicious – not just to bugs but also to spores and fungi. Checking your lawn for common pests and diseases at the beginning of summer gives you the chance to stop them before they become a full infestation.
We’ve written about one common Floridian lawn pest: the chinch bug. Read all about how to identify them in this article.
You also want to take care of weeds now, at the beginning of summer, so their roots don’t have time to develop. Once weeds have established themselves in a lawn, they hoard all the nutrients and starve other plants.
Unfortunately, this does mean manually removing them. Though you can always call a professional in to help – and treat larger problems.
Mid-Summer – July and August
By mid-summer, your lawn care should be routine now. You’ll want to stick to your mowing schedule throughout the summer and keep watching for pests, diseases, and weeds.
But mid-summer brings the heat.
So, it’s time to add a few more steps to your lawn care regime.
When in drought, water it out.
In the summer, you’ll want to make sure your lawn is getting some water once or twice a week. Before you set your automated sprinklers, check your weather forecast. If your yard shows signs of thirst and you know it won’t rain for a week, it’s time to water your lawn.
The University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions says to let your lawn tell you when to water. According to their guidelines, there are three distinct signs:
- Folded leaf blades
- Blue-gray color
- Footprints visible in the grass (the grass isn’t springing back)
They also warn against overwatering. “Watering less often will encourage your grass’s roots to grow deep into the soil. Deep roots help turf survive stresses like drought and traffic.”
As for how much water. About half to three-quarter inches of water is all your lawn needs.
Finally, when to turn on those sprinklers.
The best time of day to water your lawn is before 10 am or after 4 pm. The sun is strongest between 10 am, and 4 pm and its rays will dry up the water before it can soak into the soil. So, keep your watering schedule to the shadier times (or at night).
Later Summer – Late August and September
Finally, the heat is breaking. And your lawns are still lush and gorgeous. Don’t relax just yet – it’s time to prepare your lawn for the cooler autumn months. Doing a few things now will ensure a beautiful lawn next summer, with a little less effort.
Keep up your good lawn habits.
First up, stick to your mowing schedule. You’ll want to keep to that until the end of fall when the growing period is over.
Next, keep up watering and monitoring for drought signs. Start cutting back on your watering frequency in mid to late autumn.
Consider aerating to let your grass breath.
Aerating your lawn helps get much-needed oxygen, nutrients, and water down to the roots system. Use a core aerator to break up compacted soil. Core aerators pull up plugs or cores of soil. Doing this gives your lawn hardiness that’ll help it withstand stress, like drought or frost.
If you’re unsure how to do this, consult a professional (like A Green 365) to come in and aerate your lawn for you. We can also help with lawn plugs – pieces of turf to cover up any bald patches – and reseeding to fill out any bare patches.
When in doubt, call a professional!
Tight on time or worried you can’t maintain your lawn alone? It may be time to contact a professional, like A Green 365. We’ll ensure the right products are used on your yard. Our treatment plans include full fertilization with our eco-friendly products, grass typing, plant monitoring, and more. We’ll keep track of the local ground conditions, so you don’t have to.
Call A Green 365 to help keep your lawn lush and green all summer long.
Our A Green 365 Lawn and Pest Solutions, LLC experts can monitor your lawn’s health and check for pests and disease. We will provide you with friendly, professional lawn care services and maintenance. Contact us today for a free quote.
We serve the following locations near our Spring Hill, FL, and Lutz, FL offices:
- Brooksville, FL
- Homosassa FL
- Land O’ Lakes FL
- New Port Richey FL
- Port Richey FL
- Trinity FL
- Wesley Chapel FL
- Hernando Beach, FL
- Hudson FL
- Odessa FL
- San Antonio FL
- Tampa FL
- Weeki Wachee, FL