Smart Summer Lawn Care

Smart Summer Lawn Care

As we move from July into August, many of our customers come into Hyannis Country Garden to talk to one of our lawn experts, Jamie Dedekian, aka “Dekes.” Many benefit from his advice about lawn care, so this post covers summer lawn care and what’s important as we continue through the warmest time of the year.

“First of all, people should be mowing tall,” Dekes advises. “Four inches is preferred, but three inches minimum. And when you mow, let the clippings fall back on the lawn.” Those clippings decompose and enrich the soil, making this an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn.

Because it’s usually hot in August, people need to know how to water so that the grass is kept green but problems aren’t created in the process. “In august people can see drought and heat stress,” Dekes says. “Everyone should be watering deeply but infrequently…an inch to an inch and a half every ten days. You might have to work toward that over time, however. If you’ve been watering more often, move to that timing and amount gradually.”

Here is an example of a fungal problem that is killing the grass. This lawn was being watered twice a day, and this caused the fungus to grow. The answer is to water deeply but less often. Most fungal diseases on lawns are caused or made worse by too much water.

People should realize that lawns aren’t growing quickly at this time of year, however, so they should revise their expectations. “Good cultural practices are what I always stress,” Dekes continues. “The lawn is going a bit dormant in August and that’s what it’s supposed to do. If you water deeply it will be better, but some resting in the hot season is to be expected.”

Lawns can stay green in the summer but they might not be as fresh and vibrant as they are in the spring and fall. This is normal.

Watering deeply but less often will also help with grub control. Beetles prefer to lay their eggs in moist soils, so allowing the soil surface to go drier between watering will mean fewer grubs in your lawn. And speaking of grubs, Dekes says that the damage these larvae cause can be noticeable at this time of year. Fortunately, it’s a good time for one of Dekes’ favorite organic treatments.

“You might be seeing grub damage now, and if so, it’s a good time to put nematodes down.” Since these have to be applied in a particular manner, be sure to stop into the store and talk with Dekes or one of our other lawn-care specialists about the best way to handle beneficial nematodes.

It’s not good to apply fertilizer in the heat of the summer, so Dekes recommends keeping an eye on the lawn and noticing what happens as the temperatures cool toward fall. “As soon as you start to notice the grass getting greener,” Dekes says, “and as soon as you see the lawn perking back up, it’s time to think about fertilizing.”

If your lawn looks like it needs help, however, there are products you can use right now. “The Jonathan Green ‘Love Your Soil’ is a good thing to put that down at this time of year,” Dekes continues. “This feeds the micro-orgnaisms and keeps soil healthy, but it isn’t a fertilizer. Bio-Remedy is also good, but that should always be applied according to directions.”

Finally, if you see a problem in part of your lawn, Dekes recommends that your lawn mower be cleaned after each mowing so that things don’t spread. “Mow the areas that are disease free first,” Dekes councils, “and then go on to the problem places. After you’re done sterilize the mower using something like Simple Green. Spray the mower well top and bottom hitting the wheels, blades etc. and then rinse it off.”

Given the right care, your lawn will be attractive and healthy for the rest of the summer and for years to come.

Moss grows on compact soil, in shade, or where the turf is kept constantly moist. If you don’t want the moss you’ll need to change the conditions that cause moss to thrive. Come into the store on West Main Street and discuss how to accomplish this in your lawn.

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