Summer Gardening Tips

When Mother Nature turns up the heat, you need to give your lawn some extra TLC.

Keeping House

Does a sweeping expanse of green grass fill your heart with pride? We get it. It takes a lot of work to grow that emerald carpet. Follow these summer gardening tips to help your lawn survive the heat.

Hot-Weather Watering
There's a reason the neighbor's sprinklers click on at 5am. Early-morning watering gives grass time to dry before the sun goes down (nighttime welcomes pesky mildew and funguses). Wondering how much you should water? You want to go for deep, infrequent watering sessions that can get into the root zone. Half an inch, twice a week, should do it for most lawns. To see if you've met your weekly goal, use a rain gauge, which can you buy at most lawn centers.

Love the Planet
If you're going to use fertilizer, use an organic, earth-friendly variety. The bottom line: Pesticides that run off your lawn and drain into local waterways are hazardous to the environment. Ask your local nursery for their recommendations based on the soil in your area and type of grass in your yard. If you do choose to use traditional fertilizer, put it down after you mow, and when the grass is dry. Fertilizer sticks to wet grass, which burns the blades and turns your lawn brown.

Snip Smart
Let your lawn grow a bit longer—by an inch or so—to save on watering. Longer grass shields the soil from water evaporation. Another tip: Make sure the blades on your lawn mower are sharp. Dull blades can shred your grass, leaving it vulnerable to summertime diseases that love to strut their stuff in hot and humid weather.

Remember, August weather can be tough, so don't let a few brown spots get you down. Many grasses, especially in the mid-Atlantic states, tend to go dormant during the summer months. Think of it as their summer vacation.