Thanks to the warmer weather and slightly longer days, summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and spruce up your lawn. In fact, most lawn care projects are best to complete in the summer, as this is when your plants will receive the most sun, water, and nutrients. Taking the time to tend to your yard during the summer will also help set the space up for success throughout the rest of the year. Keeping a strict summer maintenance schedule will ensure that your lawn remains healthy and hydrated even as it lays dormant during the winter. The following list of essential summer lawn care projects will keep your yard in tip-top shape this season and year-round.
Service your mower
Your lawn mower will be your most valuable tool during the summer gardening season. As such, you’ll want to make sure it’s in proper working condition at the beginning of the season. Have your lawnmower serviced at the beginning of the summer. Many home improvement stores offer services that will repair and clean your lawnmower for you at a small charge. You can take matters into your own hands to clean and repair your mower, as well, if you want. The most important part of maintaining your mower is ensuring that the blade is clean and sharp. When it comes to mowing your lawn, a sharper blade is always better. A dull blade will tear and pull at the grass, producing brittle ends that will dry up much more quickly in the summer sun. A sharp blade, however, will produce a clean cut that will keep the grass growing at a healthy pace all season long.
Aerate your lawn
In addition to the well-known necessities of water, sunlight, and nutrients, your lawn also needs sufficient oxygen to thrive. Aerating your lawn is the best way to allow your grass to breathe as much as possible. You can complete this task using either a spike or a plug aerator. Spike aeration simply pokes holes into the ground, a task you can complete with as little as a pitchfork or other tined instrument. Plug aeration, on the other hand, removes a core or plug from the ground. These holes are slightly larger than with spike aeration and can be more effective in some cases. Aerating your lawn reduces compaction of the soil and improves overall drainage, which can be very important when those summer thunderstorms hit.
Lay ground cover
Laying ground cover is one of the most essential summer lawn care projects because it provides an added layer of defense against the scorching summer sun. This is particularly beneficial in areas where droughts are common. Ground cover such as mulch or low-lying clover will help your garden retain its moisture and temperature no matter what the weather brings. Ground cover is most useful in providing moisture in garden beds, but the same concept can apply throughout the rest of your lawn. Leaving the grass clippings on your lawn after mowing will provide a bit of ground cover for the grass as well. These grass clippings will serve the same purpose as mulch in your garden and may also help provide some extra nutrients to your grass.
Adjust your mower throughout the season
The height of your mower blade should be adjusted throughout the season to suit your lawn’s needs. Cutting your lawn very short may seem like the best way to maintain growth over the season, but it can actually do your lawn more harm than good. This can stunt your lawn’s growth, leaving the grass brittle, sharp, and dry. It may even cause your grass to appear slightly browner during the summer. It’s, therefore, a much better option to leave your grass a little on the longer side when mowing. Grass that is slightly longer provides a small amount of extra shade to the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and allows it to retain water far longer, which can be very important during the dog days of summer.
Prune your plants
Due to the extreme weather, chances are your plants will likely go through a bit of wear and tear during the summer. Dried out leaves or wilted flowers may not seem like such a problem at first, but they can seriously impede your plants’ growth throughout the season. It’s in your best interest, therefore, to prune your plants regularly. Removing dead growth allows your plants to refocus their energy on producing new leaves and flowers, rather than attempting to keep dead limbs alive. Larger plants can also benefit from a bit of pruning during the summer, including bushes, trees, and shrubs. Pruning these items will likely require a bit more effort and more substantial removal methods for the dead growth. Renting a small, 10-cubic-yard dumpster will ensure the quick and efficient disposal of all your yard waste.
Set your soil up for success
If you’ve noticed a significant number of dry patches in your lawn this year, it may be in your best interest to assess the quality of your soil. If your soil’s pH balance is too high or too low, certain plants may not be able to receive the nutrients they need to survive. You can assess your soil’s pH balance through a relatively easy-to-use home kit, or you can enlist the help of a professional service. Conducting this assessment will set your lawn up for success not only this summer but for every season that follows as well.
Start preparing for the fall
As summer winds to a close, you’ll want to start preparing your lawn for the future. Fall is right around the corner, so it’s a good idea to set your lawn up for success as much as possible before it enters its dormant state. Start by protecting your lawn against summer pests that emerge in the late summer and early fall, such as mole crickets or chinch bugs. Taking some precautionary measures in the late spring will keep these pests at bay in the coming fall. During late summer, you can also start thinking about the crops and flowers you might like to plant in the fall. Certain plants thrive better in the fall, and planting them in the late summer provides them the best opportunity for success come autumn.