Can we still have a drought this summer? The answer is yes, even after all the spring rain. As we all know, Mother Nature makes the final decision. But, there are some things to be considered. Our lawns have absorbed so much water that the grass blades became very lush, if there is a severe drought there could be great stress placed on your lawn.
Do not over-water your lawn. The best way to test if your lawn has enough moisture is to push a screwdriver into the soil. If you can go down 4-5 inches easily your soil has enough moisture. If you need to water in the absence of rain, water about 1 inch per week. It is best to water deeply and infrequently and not every day. Be sure to raise your mower height to 3 inches or more to conserve precious moisture in the grass blades during summer months. Remember; leave grass clippings on your lawn whenever possible to retain moisture, grass blades are 80-90 percent water.
Lawns grow best when temperatures are between 60-75 degrees. Readings indicate that soil temperatures have reached 80 degrees at 2 inches deep at certain times this year, this causes lawn stress. If it does not become hot and dry too quickly, consider an application of Summer Survial, or perhaps Organic Lawn Food, for a slow, gentle feeding if you have only fed your lawn once this year. Water in after application.
Weeds can be treated provided the turf is not under heat and drought stress and air temperatures are not above 85 degrees. If you have any doubts about controlling weeds during summer weather, do not, because you may damage your lawn.
Fungus is what I fear most after a wet, rainy, spring. The extra moisture in the soil and summer heat creates the perfect storm for fungus to develop. Summer fungi include Summer Patch, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot and Powdery Mildew. A sound lawn care program prior to summer months arriving is the best defense against fungus outbreaks. Choose quality grass seed with exceptional disease resistance, such as Black Beauty. Black Beauty grass seed varieties contain endophytes that can help to reduce surface feeding insect damage, thus the lawn can handle stress better. Many times fungus prone lawns will show signs of damage each year. Love Your Soil can loosen up the soil and improve air flow, helping to prevent fungus. Lawn Fungus Control can be used to prevent or cure fungus.
Grubs need moisture to reproduce effectively so there may be lots of grubs this season. Their life cycle may be delayed a bit, but monitor your lawn for grub activity. Sometimes the presence of a lot of birds or skunks on your lawn is an indication that grubs are present. Other times you may see holes in your lawn but it could be from squirrels digging for acorns. You could still apply a preventative grub treatment such as Grub and Insect Control since the grubs life cycle is somewhat delayed.
Don’t forget to address fleas, ticks, ants, mosquitoes and other insect pests if you do not want them coming to your summer picnics. There are many insect controls available to treat these pests. Grub and Insect Control or Organic Insect Control work well. If you live by wooded areas, treat the perimeter of your yard to deter ticks. Lawns that are mowed regularly tend to have less tick activity than grass that is left to grow tall. Be sure to remove any standing water to disrupt mosquito breeding grounds and treat problem areas. Once all of this work is done… remember to enjoy your beautiful lawn!