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Are you happy with the way your lawn looks right now? I am concentrating this blog on lawn care to our cool-season fescue lawns, which most of us have rather than the warm season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia.
The month of July can be stressful to our lawns because of the heat and dryness. Here is what I recommend to keep our tall fescue lawns looking their best for the remainder of the summer. Once September comes and we start to cool down is the first month where we want to seed and fertilize our lawns.
Mow as high as possible. The higher grass helps with shading the turf soil and helps lower the stress that our lawns could face for the rest of the summer. When the lawn is mowed too short, the sun beating down on the soil will heat up the soil to levels unacceptable for healthy grass. The blades of grass can tolerate the heat whereas the roots are severely damaged or killed by extreme heat. Come September when our temperatures moderate, you may lower the blade and mow the lawn lower and get ready for the fall seeding and fertilizing.
Drench the lawn. There’s always a lot of talk about how much and when to water a lawn. You want to water infrequently but deeply. If you water lightly then the grassroots will stay closer to the surface rather than growing deeply and will more than likely die with the heat. Also, try to water early in the morning and not during the heat of the day. It only makes sense.
Keep your mower blades sharpened. Sharp blades cut grass instead of tearing the blades of grass which is what can happen with dull mower blades. And, blades of grass that are torn can look ragged and the tips are brown.
I am happy to report that more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of not bagging cut grass. But, rather let the grass clippings lay on the turf. Grass clippings actually are filled with nitrogen and it has been scientifically proven that this nitrogen is equivalent to one fertilizer application. And, you are working on improving our environment by not using plastic bags that go to our landfills.
August is just around the corner and this is a great month to consider doing core aeration of the lawn. Core aeration will loosen the compaction of our soil, will allow oxygen to get into our soil, and these small holes can fill up with organic matter when you do seed and top the seed and lawn with some compost (rather than using a wheat straw).
The Fall Gardener’s Fair is Saturday, September 18 at the Great Big Greenhouse. We are concentrating this fair on lawn care. Our special guest will be Dr. Mike Goatley, Virginia Cooperative Extension Turfgrass Specialist. Watch our website in the future weeks for more details about this event. We are excited to offer to you this great, educational opportunity to answer all your lawn questions.
In addition, Mr. Kip Connelly, President of PRESCRIPTION SOIL AND PLANT NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT, will be here along with Dr. Goatley, to add and promote SOIL TESTING.
Remember that watering less but deeply and mowing high results in the turf having deeper roots which will make the grass much more drought resistant for the remaining hot summer months.