Summer lawn care in southeast Michigan can be a challenge. Changing climate patterns are forcing homeowners and commercial property owners to rethink how they care for their green spaces during the dog days of summer. Now is the time to develop good habits to keep your lawn healthy during the coming summer.
As landscaping experts, the crew at J & S Landscaping know there is a delicate balance among different elements. Too much of one or the other, and your lawn and plantings will suffer. Water is necessary, of course. But what about mulch or other coverings? Is there such a thing as too much shade? How often should I mow?
Water is necessary for every living thing. But too much of a good thing can be bad. You can watch a flooded street or river overflowing its banks to see that. This is one of the examples where the right balance is important.
How much water?
When it comes to summer lawn care, there’s a delicate balance between too much water and not enough. Too much, and the roots can actually suffocate from lack of oxygen. A healthy lawn needs proper aeration.
The growth stage of your lawn will also determine how much water you’ll need to give it. If it’s an established lawn, it will need at least 1” to 1-1/2” of water each week, either from watering or rain. But that doesn’t mean your grass is getting only an inch of water. When it soaks into the soil, it’s hydrating the top 6 to 8 inches of soil.
It you’re starting with a newly seeded lawn, you’ll have to water every day to keep the top inch of the soil consistently moist. A gentle watering twice a day will be better than once. If you’re using a hose attachment, it must be done consistently and evenly to avoid puddles. Once the grass starts to come up, continue the watering schedule to keep the top two inches of soil moist. Once the grass gets to about three inches and can be mowed, it will go to the “established lawn” watering schedule.
When should I water?
Water in the morning, if possible. There will be less evaporation from the sun and any winds blowing. If you water at night, fungus and diseases will begin to develop. Once in a while is fine, of course. But regular waterings should be done as early in the day as possible.
And you don’t need to water every day. To ensure a stronger root system that will be more resistant to droughts, give your grass a deep watering two or three times a week, rather than a daily pass over with a sprinkler or hose.
Mulch, aka grass clippings
When we think of mulch, we think of the chipped wood that covers the bases of trees or scattered among plantings. There are many benefits of using mulch in your landscaping. And J&S Landscaping is well-known as Michigan’s leading mulch delivery company.
But in this case, we’re going to “think outside of the box” when it comes to mulch and summer lawn care. We’re talking about using grass clippings as mulch.
How do grass clippings help my lawn?
We know that traditional mulch can enrich your garden’s soil. As it decomposes, it adds organic matter back in, feeding both the visible and invisible organisms that keep your garden healthy: earthworms and microorganisms.
Grass clippings work in the same way. The decomposing clippings release nutrients back into the soil. These nutrients, the majority of which is nitrogen, reduces the need for artificial fertilizers. Also, the clippings are food for earthworms, beneficial bacteria and fungi, so you’ll be helping the food web of your lawn.
The next time you mow your lawn, don’t bag the clippings. Let them fall where they may.
Keeping the grass mowed is not only important for a healthy lawn, but it can be healthy for your bank account too! Many cities and towns have ordinances requiring lawns to be kept tidy and homeowners can be fined for not mowing them.
Keeping lawns tidy not only make for a town that looks nice. It keeps weeds down and is a deterrent to pests such as rodents and ticks.
How often should I mow?
Mow about once a week. If there’s been a period of rain, you might need to bump it up a day or two sooner. Don’t be too eager to start cutting the grass. April’s showers and warmer temperatures will start the grass growing fairly quickly, but let it get some length to it before mowing for the first time.
How close should I mow?
Don’t mow more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Believe it or not, there’s a ratio grasses have, between the length of their blades and the size of their root systems. If this stays in balance, the grass will be healthy and able to handle the stresses of droughts and over-watering.
It’s a good idea to keep the grass a little longer in the dog days of summer. The longer the blade, the more surface there is and the more photosynthesis is happening. This helps the grass make more food for itself, while also strengthening its root system.
Whether you are caring for your own yard or are in charge of commercial properties, it’s important to have a robust summer lawn care plan. If you’d rather be out on the lake or relaxing entertaining family and friends, call the crew at J & S Landscaping at 248-366-7980 or contact us online. We can manage your summer lawn care needs so you can take the summer off.