Summer in Utah tends to take its toll on lawns. Excessive heat and sunlight may leave you feeling hopeless about ever having lush green grass. Not to worry, here are 8 tips to keep your lawns healthy and happy.
#1 Water Early:
You should be watering your lawn early in the morning, between 3 and 5 AM. Since it’s cooler and sunlight is limited, the water won’t evaporate quickly, giving your grass a chance to have a good long drink.
#2 Water Evenly:
Be sure that you are watering your whole lawn at a steady rate. This will help take care of splotchiness and uneven coloring. Test your sprinkler system by placing cups at various places around your yard and then turn on the sprinklers. If the water level is consistent in each cup, you will know that your lawn is being watered evenly. If not, you may need to make adjustments to your sprinkler system.
#3 Take Your Time:
You don’t want to water your lawn too quickly, so take your time to get it right. Too much water all at once can cause the water to run off the lawn and into the gutter. Save money and resources by watering your lawn slowly.
#4 Water Sparingly:
The most common lawn maintenance mistake is watering too frequently. Despite the urge and common misconception, you do not need to water your lawn every day. Frequent light watering does not allow the water to soak deep into the soil. This trains the root system to stay closer to the surface where the water is located. Watering deeply, 1-3 times a week, will allow the roots to grow downward in search of water, which in turn makes your lawn more healthy and less vulnerable to drought.
Luckily, your grass will be able to tell you if it needs watering. Step onto your lawn, if your footprints readily fade away, you don’t need to water. If the prints stays, it’s time.
You can also test how hard the lawn is by pushing a screwdriver into your grass. A moist lawn will easily allow the screwdriver through. If it is difficult to press the screwdriver into the ground, it is too dry and needs watering.
#5 Cut It Right:
Short cut grass might look nice, but low cut lawns create less shade for the roots and soil. This impedes water from reaching the root system because of evaporation, making it more susceptible to drought and weeds.
Mowing your lawn between 2-3 inches reduces watering needs and produces a deeper and healthier root system. Longer grass also helps lawn appearance and overall health because the thicker surface keeps the sun from nourishing weeds.
Additionally, cutting 1/3 (or more) of the total length of the grass at any given time will cause your lawn to go into shock. To prevent this, mow often and mow high.
#6 Healing Yellow Spots:
If you have a dog, you’ll know what we are talking about. To help heal struggling grass, you can apply a combination of grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer (also known as a lawn repair kit) to the affected areas. Follow the instructions on the kit and typically you’ll see green grass again in around four days. Although these dead patches are all too common for some pet owners, this tip also works for any patch of struggling lawn.
#7 Let it Breathe:
Over time, your lawn will naturally become hard and compacted. When this happens, nutrients, water, and fertilizers can’t reach the root system. Aeration, or the removal of small plugs of compacted soil, helps improve oxygen circulation and nutrient penetration, resulting in a more green and beautiful lawn.
Take note that lawn aeration disrupts the roots and causes stress to your grass. For best results, it is recommended that you aerate either in the spring or fall when you aren’t battling hot and dry temperatures.
For information about selecting proper aeration tools, consult your local hardware store representative.
#8 Don’t Forget to Fertilize:
Aside from proper watering, every lawn needs a good meal every now and then. Fertilizing at least twice a year (we recommend once in the Spring and again in the Fall) will result in a thick root system, a healthy lawn, and green grass. See Lowe’s Fertilizer Buying Guide for more great information. Be sure that you don’t over-fertilize or use the wrong mixture for your grass type. Doing so can damage your lawn.
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