One of the pleasures of summer is enjoying a healthy, beautiful lawn. Maybe ours is not as lovely as we would like it to be. What are we doing wrong, and how can we improve it? Here are some suggestions that should improve your grass this summer.
How Long Should the Grass Be?
Your grass should not be cut too short. Most experts say that the best length for summer is 3 to 4 inches. When grass is shorter than 3 inches, it may not be as resistant to drought. Also, when the grass is too short, there is more room for weeds to come in and take over. Another advantage of allowing your grass to stay at the height of 4 inches or more is that you don’t have to mow as often.
How and When Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?
Sometimes our lawn begins to look a little unhealthy in the summer. If this happens, resist the temptation to fertilize. Hot temperatures combined with high-nitrogen fertilizers can harm your lawn and turn it brown. Even though fertilizing in the hot summer months might produce new growth, that’s not good either. That new growth may have a hard time surviving the heat. Fertilizing is best done early in the season with a low-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer.
Natural fertilizers are becoming popular. Natural fertilizers don’t use synthetic chemicals or pesticides. There are several benefits of natural lawn care. It is healthier for people and the environment. The grass is healthier and is able to absorb more carbon dioxide form the air and give off more oxygen.
Watering Your Lawn
How much water does your grass need? It’s a good idea to use a rain gauge. You can make one easily. Cut off the narrow neck of a plastic bottle. Using a permanent marker, make marks up the side in one-fourth inch intervals.
You grass should be watered about 1 inch a week in moderately hot weather. When the temperatures really soar, 2 inches a week is good. If there is plenty of rain, you won’t need to water your lawn. This is where the rain gauge comes in handy. Then you know if it has enough water or whether you need to get out your garden hose.
Some people set up a rain barrel to provide water for the lawn. They feel that is is healthier to use this natural method for watering. Another advantage of using a rain barrel is that you are preserving water and saving money on your bill.
If you find that you do need to add water, the best time to hose your lawn is early morning or evening when it is cooler. You don’t want to water the grass in the hottest part of the day. If you do, you are risking water loss through evaporation.
After all of this care being put into your lawn, you don’t want to inflict damage with dull blades. Whether it is you mower, clippers, or other tools, the blades should be sharp. If not, your grass will be torn and mashed instead of having a clean cut. That leaves it vulnerable to the high temperatures and it may turn brown.
Another way to care for your lawn is by mulching. Mulch helps to hold in mosture. It also improves the soil when it decomposes, and even helps to reduce erosion. Several materials can be used for mulch – leaves, straw, and so on. But some people simply use the grass clippings as mulch, which is easy, convenient, and natural.
A Word About Weeds
Homeowners who practice natural lawn care don’t mind if there are a few weeds in their yard. Many weeds are actually valuable and are important to the ecosystem.
Beneficial Insects and Birds
A lawn that is cared for naturally will tend to attract wildlife, especially bees and birds. These important members of the ecosystem appreciate a sanctuary that is free from chemicals and where there is suitable habitat.