The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, we all know that lawns are generally greener in the late spring. But how can you keep your grass green all summer long?
While there is no magic wand to wave for a green lawn, there are some tried and true tips. And better yet, we even have a couple of shortcuts! When you install sod instead of seed, you’ll be better positioned for a healthy, deep green lawn. Read on for more information and guidance.
The first step to getting a healthy lawn is to start from the bottom. That means healthy soil! Your soil should ideally be made up of a balance of sand, silt, and clay. This is called loam soil. Loam soil holds moisture but also drains well when you water the lawn. It is able to retain nutrients and allow airflow, making it the most ideal soil for plants.
You can also enhance your soil. Peat lightens soil, aids in breaking up heavy clay, and holds water in sandy soils. Peat, which can be harvested in the US, also contains beneficial microorganisms.
You can start by running a simple at-home test on your soil. Place 2 tablespoons of soil in a bowl and add half a cup of vinegar. If the mixture fizzes, you have alkaline soil. Next, run the test to check for acid. This time, place 2 tablespoons of soil in a bowl and moisten it with distilled water. Add half a cup of baking soda. If the mixture fizzes, you have acidic soil.
If the soil does not react to either test, the soil has a neutral pH. Once you figure out your soil pH, you can change or adjust it. Acidic soil is counteracted by applying finely ground limestone, while alkaline soil is treated with ground sulfur.
Once you’ve started with healthy soil, you’ll be ready to install high-quality sod. When considering turf variety, you should look for one that will fit your climate. In the southeast, you will have options with both warm and cool-season grasses. However, given changes in climate, a doubt-resistant turf variety is always a good choice.
TifTuf Bermuda grass has excellent early spring green-up and late-season color retention. It features superior color and density, high resistance to traffic, and fast recovery from traffic and drought.
For homeowners, Bermuda grass is a desirable choice for a healthy, growing lawn. Better yet, Bermuda grass is common enough that it is offered at a low, competitive price. This means that you can reap the benefits that Bermuda grass has to offer on your lawn without breaking your budget. And perhaps the best perk of Bermuda sod is that it can be installed anytime, Thus, it’s never too early or too late in the season for a gorgeous green lawn!
Caring for your lawn can refer to several different things. Firstly, think of the word “care” and take it literally. That means routinely pick up debris and toys from your lawn, clean up after pets, and keep off the grass as much as possible.
Letting toys and debris sit on your lawn can cause unsightly dead patches. That’s because anything sitting on your grass is depriving the plant below it of air, light, and water. It can also crush the grass blades. Never leave anything on your grass for too long, and move around items like furniture to keep them off the turf.
Just like other items you don’t want to leave on your lawn, pet waste isn’t good for your grass. This too can cause dead patches if it isn’t cleaned up. Ideally, train your pets to relieve themselves away from your lawn, on a designated dirt or rock patch. If your pet does soil your lawn, clean up the waste right away flush the area with plenty of water.
Of course one of the benefits of a beautiful lawn in the summer is the opportunity to use it! You might want to play on it with your kids or host an outdoor gathering. That’s fine! Just be sure to give your grass time to recuperate after heavy use.
Feeding and Watering
We all know that adding fertilizer can help your lawn green-up and keep your grass green. But why does your lawn need fertilizer at all? Because those added nutrients are what will keep your lawn nourished and strong. Which translates to a greener, lusher lawn!
Typically, you should fertilize your lawn in the spring. However, the fall fertilizing session is very important too! During the summer you don’t need to fertilize, as this could lead to lawn burn or overgrowth. Better to just leave grass clippings on your lawn when you mow in the summer. This is a way to add nutrients back to the lawn without overdoing it.
While feeding your lawn is important, watering it correctly is even more vital. As a rule, grass should be watered approximately 1 to 2 inches per week. The amount you water your lawn depends on the type of grass you have and your climate. Read up on how you can use deep watering on your mature turf to keep it green in even the harshest summer conditions.
Mowing properly is almost as important as watering properly. The right mowing techniques can help keep your lawn green. First, know the proper height for your turf variety. During the summer, mow at the top end of your turf’s recommended height. The extra height helps keep the soil cool and reduces evaporation. Longer blades also bounce back better from foot traffic.
Make sure to sharpen your mower blades at least once during the summer. A dull mower blade can rip the grass, which is much more stressful than a clean cut. Avoid mowing when the lawn is wet. Wet grass clippings can clump, and they won’t decompose as quickly. Clumps of grass clippings can suffocate the grass beneath. Also, mowing wet grass can lead to breakage, just as when mowing with dull blades. You want the cuts in your grass blades to be neat and even to avoid damaging the plant and root.
Additional Maintenance: Aerating
Aerating is a way to get extra air to your turf’s roots. To aerate your lawn, you need to open up small holes in the ground. These holes give your turf’s roots better access to air. However, it’s a lawn maintenance step that many homeowners skip.
When you aerate, you’ll remove small plugs in the lawn to increase oxygen and moisture at the roots of the grass. Giving your lawn access to air allows it to absorb water and nutrients better, resulting in a greener lawn. However, if you have sodded your lawn within the past year, do not aerate it for at least two years. Ensure that the roots have taken hold first. If you don’t, you could unknowingly damage the tender roots.
Takeaways to Keep Your Grass Green
This year’s long, hot summer will test your lawns’ resilience. Your best bet to outlast the heat and keep your grass green all summer is routine care. Follow our tips above and enjoy your lush, green lawn all summer long.