The recent rainfall has been a welcome refresher after a couple weeks of oppressive heat, but let's be honest--this is Southern Illinois, and the hottest, most intense days are likely yet to come.
We do our best to prepare your grass for the inevitable heat and drought that comes with Midwestern summer, but we'd also love to share some tips and best practices YOU can do to preserve your lawn's health during these tough months.
1. WATER CORRECTLY
The surest way to ensure health, longevity, and hydration for your lawn all summer is to water your lawn. We get it--your water bill skyrockets. It's not necessarily great for the environment as it wastes water. Watering consumes tons of time dragging sprinklers around and managing hoses and timers if you don't have an in-ground watering system.
But even those that choose to water can hurt their lawn by OVER watering. If the soil remains constantly wet, grass roots suffocate. They don't get enough oxygen.
If you water, water like a pro. Keep track of rainfall and ensure that your lawn gets at least ONE INCH per week. The rule is water infrequently, but deeply. So you can get optimal results with one watering session to supplement any weeks where you don't get one inch of rainfall.
2. MINIMIZE FOOT TRAFFIC
Summer is a time for playing in the yard. If all the neighbor kids like to come over, you likely know the signs as paths of wear start to appear in the lawn. Foot traffic beats down and damages dry, brittle grass blades.
Spread playtime around the yard so one concentrated area doesn't get beaten into the dirt. Consider stepping stones for high-traffic areas. Or, you can focus a small amount of watering in areas that get high foot traffic.
3. DON'T MOW SHORT
Don't cut your lawn too short! This is a cardinal rule of lawn care and we see both homeowners and commercial lawn mowing services break this rule far too often.
Short grass is weak grass. The weakness eventually transfers to the root system. Weeds get more light and more water and tend to infest and strengthen in shortly-cut lawns.
Each lawn is different. Grass blends and shade and all kinds of factors can go into your lawn's optimal care. That's why we tailor each and every customer.
However, here are two universal rules that may help--do not remove more than 1/3 of your grass's blade height in any single cutting, and for most mowers, cutting on the highest setting is typically your safest bet. On most mowers this is 3.5 or 4 inches.
Another summer-mowing tip: don't mow drought-stressed grass. If it's brown, dormant, and struggling, leave it be. Don't cut out of habit. Time your mowing so that you're cutting the grass after recent rainfall or watering with SHARP mower blades.
4. MULCH, DON'T BAG
Tis the season to put on the mulch cap and put on some high-quality mulching blades. The mulched clippings act as slow-release fertilizer as they decompose to help your lawn maintain its health between our fertilizer applications.
Also important: if you produce clippings, aim them away from streets and storm drains. Most local ordinances prohibit this, and it's better to keep clippings in your yard than to let them clog a storm drain or decompose in the water system.
5. PREVENT INSECT DAMAGE!
Your lawn is highly vulnerable to insect infestation and damage during the summer months. A combination of heat-weakened lawns and peak insect activity is a recipe for disaster.
We see lawns every year that are destroyed by insect damage and require expensive and time-consuming renovation. If only they took the additional step to PREVENT that damage with a pesticide application SPECIFIC to hungry lawn invaders.
Common infestations include ants, fleas, chinch bugs, sod webworms, and armyworms. Also, we have seen lawns decimated by grubs, and we expect a high-risk of grub damage this year for many lawns in our service area.
At a minimum, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND adding a grub control application to your lawncare plan this year. The saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and we're prepared to give our best customers preferred, email-list pricing on this application.
To control the infestation of other pests and increase the comfort and safety in your yard, our NUISANCE PEST CONTROL package takes care of fleas, ticks, chiggers, ants, spiders, crickets, roaches, and over 100 insects across your entire lawn.
Enjoy your lawn without painful insect bites and reduce your risk for lime disease. Armyworms and sod webworms destroyed many lawns in 2014, and this package offers total control of those pests as well.
Current options and pricing are in our recent mailer. You can also request a tailored quote for your property using our web form, or by calling us at 618-228-7400.
We wish you, your family, and your lawn a healthy and happy summer!