Summer Lawn Care: Mowing and Watering Tips

summer mowing and watering tips

It’s summer, which means it’s hot, and in many cases, dry. Lawns are showing the effects of these stress factors. It is critical to the health of the lawn to water properly and to set the mower to cut the lawn at a higher setting.

Mowing Your Lawn Properly

One of the most common problems that Lawn Care Operators face involve lawns that are mowed too short. Many homeowners are under the impression that if they cut the lawn short, they don’t have to mow as often. To a certain extent that is true, but by mowing short, the lawn will not grow well since it is trying to recover from the loss of food that was being produced by the grass blades. This is NOT a healthy practice to follow as it will weaken the lawn.

Here are the four main reasons why a lawn needs to be cut at a longer length:

  1. The grass blade is the food producing part of the plant. When mowed short, less photosynthesis is taking place until the plant grows a new grass blade.
  2. The longer grass blade will shade the ground underneath, keeping it cooler and inhibiting water evaporation. The lawn will require less water when cut at a higher length.
  3. By shading the ground underneath, less sun will reach the soil and there will be less chance for weed seeds to heat up and germinate. Having longer grass will help reduce weed growth.
  4. It is a natural balance of nature that the roots will grow in depth to match the height of the lawn. This does not mean that the grass should be mowed at 6 inches, but it does mean that the roots will be better developed and grow deeper than a lawn where the grass is cut short.

Many commercial lawn maintenance companies mow too short, stating that is what their customers want. It is important to discuss the mowing height requirements with the company that mows the lawn and find one that will mow at the proper height. These are the recommended summer mowing heights for common lawn grasses in the US:

• Bermuda Grass 1-1/2”
• Zoysia Grass 1-1/2”
• Centipede Grass 2”
• St Augustine Grass 3-1/2 ”
• Tall Fescue Grass 4”
• Bluegrass 3”
• Perennial Ryegrass 3”
• Fine Fescue 3-1⁄2”

Watering Your Lawn

Watering is the second most misunderstood lawn care practice. Unless the lawn has an automatic sprinkler system, watering can be a laborious task. Moving around hoses and sprinklers can be tedious and remembering to turn on and off the water can be difficult, especially when not at home during the day. The best time to water a lawn is during the early morning and try to avoid watering at night. The prime conditions for diseases to develop in a lawn is when it is cooler, there is a good deal of available moisture on the grass blades and the sun has set for the day.

Either water a lawn on a consistent basis or allow it to go dormant. Except in extreme drought conditions, most grasses can survive for about 30 days without water. Watering enough to stimulate new growth and then allowing the lawn to go back into dormancy, time and time again will use up the plant’s carbohydrate reserves – increasing its susceptibility to disease and insect infestations. If you are going to water, be consistent and provide one inch of water per week, regardless if you are doing it manually or have a sprinkler system.

If you do have a sprinkler system, be sure you have your system checked by a professional company. Many Spring-Green locations offer lawn irrigation system maintenance check-ups during the summer. This is a great idea to ensure that all sections of the lawn are receiving adequate water and there are no leaks or damaged heads. It is also a great time to update your system with rain gauges and moisture sensors to provide water when it is needed and not every day.

Feel free to contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green if you’re interested in learning more about our Irrigation System Maintenance program.

Tune Up My Sprinkler System?

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You change the oil and have your car serviced on a regular basis. You have someone come in and do a furnace or air conditioner check to make sure either one is performing at top efficiency. You visit your doctor on a regular basis to make sure you are in tip top shape. Have you ever thought about doing the same with your sprinkler system?

Often times, people who have a sprinkler system never think about having it evaluated to ensure that it’s running correctly and supplying water efficiently and uniformly. As long as the grass looks green, the basic assumption is that everything is fine.

The efficient use of water is becoming a major concern in many parts of the country. Many people view sprinkler systems as a waste of water, especially when the system is running during a rain storm or the heads are misaligned and watering the sidewalk instead of the lawn. Maintaining healthy turf does require water, but if a sprinkler system is “out of tune” then water can end up going down the drain, either by poor spray head placement, wrong nozzles or not using moisture sensors or smart controllers.

Many people also don’t realize that nozzles can wear out over time. The nozzles and spray heads that were installed with the system 10 years ago can be inefficient and out of balance. Sprinkler companies have made tremendous advances in spray head and nozzle designs that supply water in a manner that promotes good plant growth, but limits the amount of water loss.

Jay Guthy, Business Development Manager for Toro states, “Toro Irrigation has a handful of innovative, award-winning products that easily retrofit into your existing system and can save you water and money. Precision™ Spray Nozzles can fit any spray body on your lawn, and apply up to 40% less water than traditional spray nozzles, but are much more uniform in their distribution of water. Today, it’s all about applying less water more uniformly, and allowing the water to infiltrate to the root zone versus being wasted through runoff and evaporation.”

Another important aspect of an efficient sprinkler system is the use of a smart controller, moisture sensors and rain sensors. And Toro even has a unit that easily retrofits to most any controller installed. These three components are critical for any sprinkler system. Using them can save up to 40% on water usage. With the cost of water and possible restrictions on water use, these components are well worth the investment.

If you have never had your sprinkler system evaluated, then you could be wasting a lot of water and money. Contact Spring-Green for a tune-up today. You will be glad you did.

The Importance of Regular Lawn Care Service

End Of Season

It’s a relatively common misconception that after several years of yard service, a lawn can become “numb” to the care and results become stagnant. It’s not necessarily a question of a lawn becoming unresponsive after several years with a professional lawn care service. Rather, it may be that results are not as dramatic or impressive as they were when service first started.

Our goal as a lawn care service is to get your lawn to a point where it is green, healthy and consistently looks good. We’ve done our job if the lawn’s appearance is healthy and doesn’t change much from month to month.

Lawns respond to whatever inputs you provide. Lawns themselves are not naturally occurring by default. So they need to be maintained to thrive and stay alive. If you choose to stop lawn service to let your lawn “rest” a year, the density will start to decline and the root system will diminish. Also, weeds, damaging insects, and lawn diseases can increase.

Turfgrasses grow best in well-drained soils that are rich in nutrients and organic content. Most home lawns do not have the best soil for turf to grow and thrive. Lawns need additional food, water and proper maintenance practices to make up for the poor soil on which they are expected to grow. That is why we recommend such additional services as core aeration to help root systems expand.

Careful fertilization, mowing, watering and reseeding decisions need to be made in order to maintain a lawn, and are determined by the type of turf you have and the weather conditions your particular lawn faces.

A healthy lawn, well-maintained by a lawn care service, will recover faster from the effects of adverse weather conditions as well as attacks from insect and disease infestations. If a lawn remains fallow for a year, it is less likely to have the ability to come back from these pressures. Therefore, you should continue with regularly scheduled applications of fertilizer on your lawn every year.

Contact your local Spring-Green lawn care service provider to discuss which lawn care services are right for your yard.

Watering Trees and Shrubs

Spring was very wet for much of the Midwest, but now we have entered into a hot, dry spell, which is not that unusual for summer.  All that rain this past spring allowed trees and shrubs to grow well and produce lots of leaves.  Now that the rain has stopped and the heat has increased, many plants are dropping leaves.  This could be the result of the recent hot and dry weather.

If the leaves on your plants are drooping, it usually means that they are in need of water.  The best way to water a larger tree or shrub is a slow, steady trickle from a garden hose directed at the base of the plants.  Leave it at the base of the plant for 15 to 20 minutes and check the soil to see if it is getting wet more than an inch or so.  The goal is to keep the soil wet down to 8 to 12 inches.  Move the hose and water different areas under the tree to get the entire area watered.  Most sprinklers are designed to water large areas, so they usually don’t work well to water established trees or shrubs.

If, after watering, your plant is still drooping, that could be a sign of a bigger problem, such as a disease or insect infestation.  This may require you to contact a tree care service to have them come out and check your plants.  There are numerous other possibilities that could cause a plant to lose its vitality.  It is better to have someone who can identify these problems and provide the best recommendation to help your plants grow.