Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mid-summer Lawn Care: Fertilizing, Aerating and Mowing by Donna Duffy


Mid-summer can be tough on turf. In addition to watering efficiently, give consideration to fertilizing, aerating and mowing practices. Following are tips from Tony Koski, CSU Extension Turf Specialist.

Photo courtesy ecolawn.net
Fertilizing 
  • Fertilization may not be necessary if the lawn was fertilized this spring.
  • Summer fertilization, if done, should utilize a blend of slowly available (highest percentage) and quickly available nitrogen (low percentage).
  • Natural organic and other predominately slowly available nitrogen fertilizers work well when applied in the summer.
  • Coordinate any fertilizer applications with your local watering schedule so that it can be watered in as soon as possible after application.
  • Returning grass clippings to the lawn when mowing provides a substantial fertilizer benefit.

Photo courtesy lawn aerator.info
Aerating 
  • Unless used for overseeding purposes, lawn aeration should not be performed when temperatures are expected to exceed 85F for more than a couple of days.
  • Watering restrictions may cause lawns to be too hard to allow for effective summer aeration.
  • Lawns aerated during the summer may require additional irrigation to prevent turf stress and damage.
  • Fall lawn aeration, fertilization, and overseeding all can be done at the same time.

Photo courtesy ejizine.wix.com

Mowing
  • Set your mowing height at 2 ½ to 3 inches and mow at the same height all growing season.
  • Don't remove more than 3/4 inch of grass at any single mowing; recycle grass clippings into the lawn.
  • Use a sharp blade to reduce tearing of the grass leaves.
  • Whenever possible, mow during the cooler morning or evening hours to avoid causing stress to the lawn.
  • Lawns showing signs of drought stress (blue-gray coloration, persistent footprints, slight browning) should not be mowed until they have been watered to reduce stress.