If you are as big of a lawn and landscape fanatic as we are at Spokane’s Finest Lawns, you are not about to let the increased temperatures wreak havoc on your precious lawn and landscape.
Our hope is after you read this blog post, you will have a game plan to keep your lawn and landscape looking their very best no matter what mother nature has in store for us this year.
10 Summer lawn & landscape tasks to consider:
- Summer watering guide
- Raise your mower’s cut height
- Sharpen your blades
- Pull weeds
- Prune plants
- Control insects (Grubs, mosquitos, & ticks)
- Control moles (And voles & groundhogs)
- Plan your fall lawn care needs
- Consider upgrading your existing landscaping without planting
- Things to hold off on in the summer if possible
Best practices for Summer watering
The best practices for watering actually do not change over the Summer.
Do your watering habits play a greater role in your lawn’s appearance? Absolutely.
Directly below, we will quickly run through the most important things you need to know about watering your lawn.
How to properly water your lawn and plants
The main thing to remember when watering is to ‘water deep, not often.’
You may have heard this saying before. All that it means is that you do not need to water every day, but when you do water, you need to make sure you water for a long enough period that the water soaks deep into the soil.
Plants need to consume water from their roots. Most plants receive little to no benefit from water solely reaching their foliage.
If you only water for a short period of time, the water will only soak and inch or two into the soil. This will train your plant’s root to reach for water towards the top of the soil surface. This creates a shallow root system that will offer little resistance to drought or any type of disease.
Let your grass grow a little taller
Think about it…
Each blade of grass is casting a shadow on the soil surface. Shade lowers the temperature and reduces evaporation. This allows the water that is in your soil to remain there longer, giving your plants more time to consume the nutrients contained within.
Even just raised your lawn mower’s deck 1 notch, or a 1/2 inch, will make a big difference. If you have never tried this before, we highly encourage you to do so. We guarantee you will notice a big difference in the ‘greenness’ of your lawn over the summer months!
Sharpen all of your lawn tool’s blades, not just your mower
Once again, the summer puts a lot of stress on plant material.
When you mow your lawn or prune your plants, additional stress is put on those plants. Obviously, grass needs to be mowed and plants need to be pruned from time to time. We are not saying don’t mow your grass or prune your plants, just make sure your blades are sharp to not add additional unneeded stress during the summer months.
How to sharpen your blades
Most homeowners can get away with sharpening the lawn mower’s blades, hedge trimmer’s blade, and other pruning device’s blades with a file.
Many local lawn and garden type stores also offer blade sharpening. It is usually best to just take them your blades to reduce the cost of this service.
If you want to get fancy, a vice grip and angle grinder work great for lawn mower blades. We recommend using a tool like a Dremel to sharpen hedge trimmer blades and smaller hand-held pruning tools.
Pull weeds from your landscape beds
We are not big on spraying chemicals on the environment unless needed and done properly.
Pulling weeds out of the ground by the root is our preferred way to go about weeds any type of flower bed. After a rain when the ground is moist, you can often grab most plants by the stalk near the ground and pull the root out with it still intact. There are also nifty little tools you can find at any garden center or hardware store specifically made to help you remove weeds with the roots intact.
Spray weeds as an alternative but be careful
The big concern regarding spraying any kind of herbicide during the summer is evaporation. When temperatures are over 70 degrees there is a slight chance for evaporation to occur. When the temperatures are 85 degrees or more, you can rest assured some will evaporate.
If you insist on spraying weeds instead of pulling them, just be very contentious about the weed control you are spraying evaporating upwards and burning the leaves of desired plants above. This can be enough to kill some sensitive plants!
Perform a Summer pruning
If you are like us, you like to friends and family over during the summertime.
Most plants should really be pruned 3 times per year to keep them looking great all growing season long. Once after the spring blooms are spent, once mid-summer, and a final pruning after growth has ceased in the Fall to keep them looking great all winter long.
Keep insects from ruining your plants and/or outdoor enjoyment
We’ll talk more about grubs specifically in just a second. Let’s start by addressing mosquitos and ticks, among many other unwanted insects that can ruin your ability to enjoy your lawn.
There have recently been several new companies popping up all over the country focusing on specifically ridding lawns of unwanted insects. This is certainly an option. You can probably find products to control insects at your local garden center or hardware store that you could spray or spread yourself.
One thing to remember when you are wanting to gain and keep control of flying insects is that you will need to make applications on a regular basis!
Grub control (Preventive or curative treatment)
There is a window of time each year when preventative grub treatment is effective. It has to do with the life cycle of the grubs. They are only susceptible to preventative treatments at certain times which is typically in June and July.
If you have missed the preventative grub control treatment window, you can apply a curative treatment. Hopefully, you caught the issue early enough, and not too much damage has been done to your lawn.
If you want to put your grub control on cruise control and live in Spokane, Spokane Valley, or Liberty Lake, we always include grub control in our lawn treatment program which also includes fertilizer and weed control.
Don’t let lawn pests damage your lawn
Moles are the lawn pests you hear about most often, but voles and groundhogs can also damage lawns and landscapes.
There have been some products that have hit the market stating they will deter lawn pests from entering your lawn. We are not sold on these products and the review reflects our opinion.
Traps are still the #1 way to remove a lawn pest such as a mole. There are several videos on YouTube to help you pick the right type of animal trap and how to use it properly. If you search hard enough, you can find a company that can perform this service for you.
Poison worms are another option. Moles and voles cannot tell the difference between these worms and their favorite food, earthworms. Do not worry, these bait worms are inserted beneath the soil surface and only contain enough poison to harm a very small rodent.
Our only complaint or warning with using any type of bait worm is that is it really hard to tell if it worked! The correct animal trap and proper us is the best way to handle lawn pests.
Plan ahead for your Fall lawn care needs
Whether you plan on performing your fall lawn care and landscaping needs yourself or hiring a company like us, it is best to plan out these activities.
If you are hiring a lawn service, just know the fall is a busy time of year for them! There is a lot that goes into ‘winterizing’ a lawn and landscape properly. Do not be surprised if they tell you there is a 3-4 week wait if you wait until the last minute to contact them. Everybody wants their lawn and landscape on point for the holidays!
What to plan for in the fall
We are focusing on the summer lawn checklist in the blog, but wanted to get you an idea of what you should consider this fall.
Fall is the best time of the year to aerate, overseed, and fertilize your lawn. Your lawn will benefit from any of those 3 services more in the Fall than any other time of year.
Leaf removal is a big deal! Please do not let the leaves sit on your lawn and in your landscape beds all winter long. This is just asking for damage by smothering the plant material beneath. It also invites unwanted critters and opens the door for disease and fungi to enter.
Consider adding a hardscape feature, water feature, or landscape lighting
Summer is not the ideal time to be planting any type of plant. That doesn’t mean you cannot add interest to your lawn and landscape and value to your home during the summer months!
Summer is typically the least busy time of the year for a lawn and landscape company, assuming they also do snow removal. This makes it a great time to ‘get a deal’ on a premium landscape upgrade or addition such as a paver walkway or patio, retaining wall, fire pit, water feature, and landscape lighting.
Some lawn tasks are not ideal for the summertime
That concludes the Summer lawn checklist to-dos. Now you know what you should be doing or have done to your lawn and landscape during the summer months.
Let’s discuss a couple things that are not ideal to perform in the lawn and landscape during the summer.
Hold off on planting new plants until the Fall arrives
Planting plants during the summer is risky. It can be done. Please make sure you are fully prepared to invite the time and energy needed to give them a chance to survive. This could require watering at the very least and possibly constructing temporary barriers to shade the plants as the roots take hold during these hot and dry conditions.
Take it easy on the fertilizer amounts over the Summer
Your lawn is already stressed out enough, adding fertilizer, specifically nitrogen, will cause more harm than good. A small amount of nitrogen over the summer is OK, and you should if you have a healthy lawn. But, nitrogen encourages the grass to grow and with the high temperatures naturally slowing down the plant’s growth, it just harms the grass plants.
Aerating would be more beneficial in the Spring or the Fall
Aerating is most beneficial when your turf’s root system is actively growing. Your lawn’s roots are most active in the Fall, making this the best time of the year to aerate. Spring is the second-best time to aerate.
Summer aerating can be beneficial if you are experiencing a drought. Aerating in the summer will require an aerator with hydraulic down pressure as we can assume the ground is hard from the lack of rain. You will probably have to hire a company that has an aerator with hydraulic down pressure as we have not seen many placing renting this type of lawn aerator.
The key to summer aerating being successful besides using the right aerator is watering properly for the weeks and months preceding the aeration.
Don’t attempt to sow new grass seed unless you have to
Sowing grass in the summer is very hard to do and get desired results. Unless you absolutely have to, hold off until the temperatures cool down in the fall to sow grass seed. If you do have to seed and are expecting great results, please understand you should water your grass seed and young daily in the morning and evening at least a month.
Watering grass seed and young grass is different than watering established plant material, including established lawsn. The idea behind water seed is to ‘keep it moist’ at all times. As the seed turns into young grass, you want to start watering ‘deeper’ to encourage those roots to dig deep into the soil surface.
Did you learn something from our Summer lawn checklist?
Let us know!
Leave a comment below and let us know what you learned by reading our Summer lawn checklist. We would love to know!
We hope you are enjoying your lawn and if you need any help, please do not hesitate to contact your local lawn care professionals at Spokane’s Finest Lawns.