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How to Prepare Your Lawn for Summer

summer lawn care

If grass could talk, it probably wouldn’t have anything nice to say about summer. Not only does summer pack an extra punch of sun, heat, and drought, but it's is also a time of a lot of additional yard activity.

If you want your yard looking it's best for summer guests, then the best way to get your yard ready is to prepare ahead of time. Generally, how you take care of your lawn in the spring will determine how well your yard looks in the summer.

To have a beautiful yard that you can enjoy with your family and friends this summer there are four main points you need to consider before the hot season arrives.

1. Have your lawn treated in the spring.

Aeration

There are many beneficial aspects of a springtime aeration treatment. Aerating will help your grass recover from harsh winter weather and prepare it for a tough summer to come.

Aeration greatly improves your lawn's ability to absorb essential nutrients. During an aeration treatment, a machine is pushed across the yard like a lawnmower and pulls up tiny plugs of grass and soil along the way. Through the temporary holes in your lawn, water, sunlight, and oxygen will have easy access to the grass's root system. The soil plugs left on the surface will also break down over time, and their nutrients will be absorbed into the grass.

Opening these holes in the ground is an excellent way to break up any thatch that may be blanketing your soil. The gaps opened by aerating also provide extra space for your soil to spread out and loosen up.

Basically, aeration gives your grass room to release built-up pressure. Aerating before summer arrives is the best way to build your yard’s immune system so it can better tolerate the harsh conditions of summer.

Fertilization

One of the best ways to prepare your lawn for the stress of summer is to have it fertilized ahead of time during the spring. Applying lawn fertilizer during the spring boosts the health of your grass, and makes it more resilient to the coming summer.

Grass struggles under the stress of summer's heat and drought, but stored nutrients from a spring fertilizer treatment give the grass a better chance of remaining lush and healthy.

For optimal effect, fertilizer treatment is most effective when done a couple days after an aeration treatment.

Pre-emergent weed treatment

Summer is sure to be a busy time for your yard, and if you want your lawn looking it’s best for guests – ditch the weeds! Weeds often begin to pop up as temperatures get warmer, and dealing with a weed problem is probably not how you want to spend your summer. Spreading a pre-emergent weed product in the spring can help prevent pesky summer weeds.

Using pre-emergent products a season ahead of summer will prevent any new weeds popping up and spoiling the look of your summer barbeques. However, be aware that these pre-emergent herbicides don’t kill weeds that have already grown.

These products can save your lawn from the growth of summer weeds, but they can be a little tricky to apply just right. To be as effective as possible, these products need to be applied at the right time and properly selected for the kind of weed you want to control and for your type of grass.

Consider hiring a professional lawn care company to assist you with your weed needs.

2. Check your lawn for flaws before summer arrives.

When it comes to unsightly flaws in your yard, it is far better that you notice them before any summertime guests point them out to you. Summer is the season of picnics, barbeques, lawn sports, and outdoor parties, so take the time before summer to look for any weak spots. Here's a basic list to help you know what you're looking for and what to do if you find it:

Bald spots

Before you send out your summer barbeque invitations, look around for any bald spots. Winter can cause quite of bit of damage to lawns, and bald spots can be part of that.

If you discover any bare spots, seed the area. Use a rake to loosen the soil then spread your seed in the area. Rake again to help move the seed into the soil and water the area deeply.

Brown patches

Brown patches in your grass can be caused by many different issues, but it can be a big problem for your turf. Brown patches are usually circular areas of dead-looking grass. The problem could be a simple watering issue, or you may be dealing with a fungal grass disease.

Fungal disease can spread, and it can be tough to treat, so spotting it early is your best chance for removing it.  Have a lawn care professional inspect your lawn for any brown patches that you may find and help you get rid of it.

Thatch

Thatch is a layer of dead grass and debris that covers the soil in a yard like a blanket. This debris layer acts like a harmful barrier blocking the sun, water, and nutrients from reaching the soil and root system. This layer can easily develop in the dormant winter, and it can quickly build up through the growing season of spring.

Thatch can make a yard look sloppy, but the big issue is that during the harsh weather of summer, your grass will need all the easy access to nutrients that it can get. Aeration is one of the most effective ways to remove thatch, but you can also try scratching the thatch layer with a rake to break it up and remove it.

3. Develop healthy habits for your summer lawn care routine.

The heat, drought, and extra foot traffic that occur during summer can quickly wear a lawn out. Proper maintenance practices will be your best friend when trying to keep your lawn healthy, green, and vibrant during the summer. Don’t wait till you notice grass damage to change your lawn care routine – be ready with a summer plan!

For more tips to keep up with your yard this summer, check out our blog on summer lawn care tips.

Mowing

Before you consider your summer mowing routine, take the time to give your mower a tune-up. Similar to cars, lawnmowers should be tuned up once a year. Clean any dirt or build up off of the engine parts, lubricate the gears, change the oil, and replace the spark plug and air filter. Always remember to sharpen your mower blades so you can give your grass a clean cut.

Although it may seem more efficient to cut your grass short, mowing too short can harm and weaken your turf during the summer heat. You should not cut off more than ⅓ of the blade’s length per mow.

Leaving your grass slightly longer in summer provides a degree of shade for the soil, which helps in conserving moisture. During the summer season, grass should be left about ½-1 inch longer than usual.

For more information about proper mowing practices, check out our guide to mowing.

Watering

There is one thing that we all need more of during the summer heat – more water, please! And plants like grass are no exception! With the added sun, heat, and drought that come hand-in-hand with summer, your regular watering schedule will not cut it for your lawn.

First things first, make sure your sprinkler system is working correctly. Whether you've got busted sprinkler heads, a malfunctioning timer, or the whole system is on the fritz…get it fixed before summer!

Then once your system is in tune, set your sprinklers to water early in the morning sometime between 5AM and 10AM. If you water any later in the day, then the moisture will evaporate away with the sun.

While planning your summer watering routine, remember the key is to water more deeply, not more often.

How can this be achieved? You should water three times a week and about twice as long each session as you usually do. This will ensure that the water is penetrating deep enough to keep the root system hydrated through the dry summer heat.

You can find more tips on proper seasonal watering practices in our guide to watering.

4. Beautify your yard.

Our last tip for preparing your lawn for summer is decidedly the most fun. Upgrade your landscape! This is your chance to get creative for the season. With just a few simple touches, you can impress all the family and friends that stop by for outdoor events.

Summer is a busy time for yards, so make sure you have all the furniture you'll need for hosting get-togethers. And we don't just mean tables, chairs, and umbrellas…spice it up with a fire pit, a new grill, tiki torches, or a cornhole set. Make the space fun for your family and for guests!

Once you have your new decor in place, add some seasonal flowers for an extra pop of color. Or perhaps consider using your summer free time to add a vegetable garden.

Adding some mulch is another excellent way to beautify your landscape. Not only will a fresh layer of mulch look great, but it is also greatly beneficial for your plants. The mulch shelters and protects flower beds from the harsh summer sun. Mulch also helps the soil retain more moisture, which keeps your plants hydrated.

Call Gecko Green

If you need a helping hand caring for you yard this summer, call Gecko Green! We’re a family owned local lawn care company with experts that will care for your yard as if it were their own. Call today for a free quote!

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