As summer approaches and spring fades away, all homeowners need to keep in mind the ways how to prepare a lawn for summer. If you don’t practice proper summer lawn care, your lawn can quickly turn dry and brown.
Use these steps to get your lawn ready for the summer months.
Aerate the Lawn
An essential step in preparing your lawn for summer is aerating it. By aerating your lawn, you make it easier for nutrients, water, and oxygen to get into the roots of the grass. The roots of the grass will be healthier and that will make your whole lawn healthier.
For warm-season grasses, aerate in the spring. If you have cool-season grasses such as ryegrass or bluegrass, aerate in the fall. As for how often you need to aerate your lawn, most experts recommend a frequency between every year and every three years. Areas of the lawn that get a lot of traffic might require aerating more often.
Get Rid of Thatch and Other Debris
Thatch is a layer of debris, dead leaves, and dead grass that can build up on your lawn and block out the sun. By taking it away, you can help your grass get the sunshine and nutrients it needs to grow.
You have a few options for getting rid of thatch. If you have some time and don’t mind breaking a sweat, raking is one way to eliminate the thatch on your lawn. You can also use a liquid lawn dethatcher if you prefer.
Remember to pick up any other debris on your lawn like sticks or stray pebbles, too.
Mow Your Lawn
Cutting your lawn once it comes out of its winter dormancy period is another vital step toward preparing your lawn for summer. This generally happens around April.
In these first mowings of the lawn, cut the grass shorter than usual by around an eight or a quarter-inch. Even though the general recommendation is to leave grass clippings on the lawn to provide additional nutrients, that doesn’t apply to the first few times you cut the lawn after winter. Those grass clippings could have fungal disease picked up during the winter so it’s better to rake them away and throw them out.
Seed Your Grass
Early spring is a great time to spread seeds on your lawn in preparation for summer. You should fill in any bare spots in the lawn with concentrated seeds and also spread a lighter layer of seeds over the whole lawn.
Seeding your grass this way will help make sure that you have a full, bright lawn once summer arrives. No summer lawn care is complete without seeding the grass.
Spread Weed Control
Summer is often when weeds run amok because they can take advantage of the weakened grass from wintertime. So, if you’re wondering how to prepare a lawn for summer, spreading weed control is a big part.
In April, consider spreading a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent these damaging weeds from popping up. Then, May is a good time to look over your lawn in search of weeks that the herbicide didn’t take care of. You can use a post-emergent herbicide to take care of those weeks.
Make sure that you take the time to correctly identify any weeds in your lawn that you plan on treating. Using the right herbicide will go a long way to actually killing the weeds and not harming your lawn. To protect your summer landscaping, don’t neglect weed control.
Fertilize the Lawn
Unfortunately, most lawns don’t get all the nutrients they need from just the soil. Using fertilizer as part of your summer lawn care can help ensure that your grass stays healthy and green.
When you first notice that your lawn is getting vibrant in the spring, you should spread a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing within 30 days of the highest summer temperatures, though.
Learn more in our lawn fertilizer guide.
Watering your Grass in Summer
Water is an essential part of a happy, healthy, green lawn, especially during the hot summer months. However, it’s important to make sure you water it properly!
How often should you water grass in summer?
How much you should water your grass in the summer completely depends on how much rainfall you get in your area. In general, lawns need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly in the summer so you should give your grass enough water to hit that target. That way, your lawn’s roots will be well-hydrated and protected against drought.
What is the best time to water grass in summer?
It’s best to water your lawn in the morning before 10 a.m., when the sun isn’t too hot and the wind isn’t too strong. This allows water to soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots before it can evaporate.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you mow your lawn in the summer?
Most people notice that their lawns grow quicker in the warmer weather. It’s also a good idea to let your grass grow longer in the summer than in other months, generally about three inches.
Even so, you’ll probably need to mow your lawn more often during the summer. Somewhere between once every other week and once a week is a good guideline for mowing your lawn in the summer, in general.
Can you mulch in the summer?
Lots of homeowners choose to mulch in the spring or fall but you can absolutely mulch in the summer, too. In fact, mulching your garden can help lock in the moisture in the soil and protect against the effects of the summer heat.
Can you fertilize in the summer?
If you fertilize in the early summer, you can help your warm-season grass to grow thicker and healthier. Fertilizing your lawn at the right time can help your grass be more heat and drought resistant. However be careful! If you use too much fertilizer, you may burn your lawn.