It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and your lawn…could use some help. This past winter may have been much milder than what we’re typically used to in St. Louis, but chances are, your grass still went into some form of dormancy and isn’t looking exceptionally lush and vibrant right now. A well-manicured, weed-free lawn isn’t easy to achieve, especially with St. Louis’ untamed, unpredictable weather. That’s why the experts at Flora Design & Landscape have put together the top six tips for taking care of your lawn this summer.
1. Apply weed preventers in spring or fall.
We don’t normally think about weeds until we see them. Unfortunately, if weeds are present, then the time to apply preventers has already come and gone. Weed preventers won’t avert weeds that have already started to grow, so you must apply before germination to garner the benefits. Weeds sprout and spread at different temperatures, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game and strategically administer preventers. Apply these treatments in spring and fall to improve the quality of your lawn for the following season.
2. Treat your weeds when it’s wet.
Inhibiting weeds before growth begins is of course ideal, but even if you treat your lawn with preventer, some weeds will inevitably still appear. Not to fret – weed killers can be highly effective when applied correctly under optimal conditions. When the ground is wet, weed killer tends to stick to the weeds, thus increasing its efficiency. The best time to apply any type of weed killer is in the morning while the grass is covered in dew or after a light rain.
3. Don’t forget to fertilize.
Just like humans, grass requires a high level of nutrients to grow. Over time, these nutrients get depleted and need to be restored. Ideally, you should fertilize in spring when the ground temperature is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a lawn spreader rather than your bare hands to protect your skin and ensure that the fertilizer is spread evenly.
4. Proper aeration is key.
When the soil in your lawn gets compacted, air and water can’t reach the roots of your grass. Aerating your lawn by removing plugs of soil is a simple, effective way to increase its overall health, as this process allows essential oxygen, water, and nutrients to get down into the soil. Soil is most vulnerable to compaction during the winter months, so spring is a great time to aerate. Remember that you must penetrate the soil to properly aerate, so it’s best to water your lawn or wait for a decent rain before completing this task.
5. Water early in the day.
As we’ve already experienced this year, dry spells are fairly common throughout the spring and summer in St. Louis. During these periods, it’s crucial to regularly water your lawn so that it doesn’t become too dry. Ideally, you should water early in the morning so that the grass can soak up the moisture before the afternoon heat causes it to evaporate. Avoid watering at night, as standing water on your lawn creates the perfect conditions for fungus and other diseases to take hold. Be sure to water once or twice during weeks with little to no rainfall, allowing the water to soak several inches into the soil each time.
6. Mow frequently, but not too short.
Mowing frequency and technique can significantly affect the health and aesthetic of your lawn. As a general rule of thumb, you should mow once per week during the spring when grass growth is most vigorous, then cut back to once every other week for the duration of summer. While it’s tempting to hack off as much length as possible, removing too much of the blade can actually do more harm than good. Taller, thicker grass provides more shade and protects root systems from heat and water evaporation. To protect your grass and increase density, remove only one-third of the blades’ height at a time.
Summer is the perfect time to show off your luscious, well-maintained lawn. Follow these simple steps to keep your lawn looking its very best and maximize your home’s curb appeal!