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Mid Summer Lawn Checklist

July 7, 2014

Some kinds of grasses thrive during the dog days of summer, while others tend to suffer.  My Mid-Summer Lawn Checklist is much like my June Lawn Checklist with a few shifts that are related to how your lawn handles these dog days.

Northern lawns (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) prefer cooler temperatures and tend to suffer if the nighttime temps and humidity don’t drop much from the 90’s during the day.  However, cool night temps that drop back into the 60’s can do wonders to help these kinds of lawns stay healthy in summer.  Southern lawns (like Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede and Bahia) thrive this time of year, even if the night temperatures are not that much different from hot day temperatures.

Some lawns need feeding.  Some Southern lawns (like Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia) love to be fed at two month intervals from spring to fall for a total of about 4 feedings a year.  Centipede only likes two or three feedings a year from late spring to late summer. Scotts GreenMAX Lawn Food, Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts Natural Lawn Food are good choices for this time of year.   If you have already fed your Northern lawn (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) twice this year you can skip feeding until later in summer.  However, if your Northern lawn has not been fed in a while and you live in an area where night time temps drop, you can give your lawn a feeding.

Keep your lawn from thinning and turning brown.  Tiny insects can attack your lawn during summer.  One indication that they may show up is when you see moths fly from your lawn when you mow or walk on your grass during early evening hours.  These moths do not damage your lawn, however they lay eggs for insects like sod webworms and cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown.  Other insects, like chinch bugs can show up about the same time.  You can protect your lawn while feeding it with a special summer lawn food called Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard.  This product also takes care of other insects like fleas, ticks and ants.  If your lawn does not need feeding, you can spread Ortho Bug B Gon MAX on your lawn to take care of any insect problems.  Oh by the way, it is ok if you still see some moths after treating, since they do no damage.  You have protected your lawn from the damage caused by their hatching eggs for about 6 weeks or so.

Lawn that needs feeding and has insect damage next to healthy lawn that is well fed and protected from insects

Lawn that needs feeding and has insect damage next to healthy lawn that is well fed and protected from insects

Kill lawn weeds if they are growing.  Weeds are harder to kill if they are not actively growing.  Most weed controls are designed to work if your temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees, so check the label for suggestions to get best results.  Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer takes care of most weeds.  Do not use on Floratam (a variety of St. Augustinegrass), Centipede or Bahiagrass lawns.  Ortho Nutsedge Killer and Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed & Clover Killer are also options depending on where you live and your lawn type.

You think you are getting rid of Nutsedge (also called Nutgrass) because it is easy to pull. However, it quickly grows back from the bulb-like roots that are left behind in your soil.

You think you are getting rid of Nutsedge (also called Nutgrass) because it is easy to pull. However, it quickly grows back from the bulb-like roots that are left behind in your soil.

Treat lawn fungus problems if needed.  Circular patches of browning grass or individual grass blades with spots on them are an indication of lawn fungus problems.  Some of these problems will go away with shifting weather, however if they persist or if you have certain areas of your lawn that are prone to fungus problems each summer, you can treat with Scotts Lawn Fungus Control.

Brown Patch on Tall Fescue - Circular patches of dead grass are a symptom of several lawn fungus problems such as Brown Patch and Summer Patch show up during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.

Brown Patch on Tall Fescue – Circular patches of dead grass are a symptom of several lawn fungus problems such as Brown Patch and Summer Patch show up during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.

Mow your grass taller. Taller grass blades mean deeper roots to match the leaf growth. So adjust your mower to leave your grass height after you mow at around 2-1/2 inches for Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fine Fescue; 3 inches for Tall Fescue and Buffalograss; 3 to 4 inches for St. Augustinegrass; and 1-1/2 to 2 inches for Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass and Zoysia.

Water Sensibly.  If you are able to water without restrictions and you want to keep your grass from going dormant, a half inch twice a week is better than a small amount every day. This helps to encourage deeper roots. Place a tall straight sided/flat bottomed glass or a rain gauge on your lawn while your sprinklers are running then measure the depth of water that accumulates in the glass to help calculate how long to run your sprinklers to put down a half inch. You would only need to do this once to help figure out your sprinkler system.  If you can, water in early morning when there is less wind and evaporation.

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2 Comments
  1. My lawn is about 35-40% crabgrass. What do I do? Weed killer? It’s mid July, should I start laying weed killer now in a few applications spread out, and then in fall lay my seed down? The crabgrass is thick mature and has absorbed a lot of my fertilizer and block moisture to the soil. I have also pulled up some by hand only to watch it grow back in a week or two.

  2. Hi Johnny DeMarco
    I think I just answered all your questions on your other comment. If not be sure to let me know if I missed anything.

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