The arrival of spring in March marks the beginning of a seasonal transition — from winter dormancy to new grass growth. During spring, it’s essential to provide your lawn with nutrients and preventative herbicides to boost it going into the summer months. For a spring lawn care breakdown, take a look at our spring schedule piece, which details how to set your lawn up for success. Summer is all about maintaining the hard work you did in spring. Increasing temperatures mean there'll be some new tasks to add to your summer lawn care schedule, such as weed and pest control applications.
Generally, the summer lawn care timeline begins in June and ends in August — but this can depend on where in the States you’re based. Temperatures and soil conditions vary across the country, so consider your grass type and area when you’re planning your summer lawn care schedule.
Here, you’ll find a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to take care of your lawn in the summer and which lawn care products will serve you best.
1. Growth Regulators for Grass (PGRs)
Warmer temperatures during the summer mean grass can have a sudden growth spurt, growing faster than you expect. But fast growth can cause shallow-rooted grass, making your lawn especially vulnerable to opportunistic weeds and pests. This is where plant growth regulation can help.
What Are Plant Growth Regulators?
Plant growth regulators, or PGRs, are organic compounds that actively allow grass blades to grow first to promote efficient photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which your grass converts sunlight into food. PGRs will reduce lawn mowing frequency and make sure your grass is thick, healthy, and thriving. This will improve your lawn’s resilience to disease and drought and lets grass blades mature, giving your lawn a deeper green color.
When Should I Apply PGRs?
Our general recommendation for plant growth regulator application is every four to six weeks. To keep it simple, apply your PGR every month with a backpack sprayer. For increased accuracy, pair your backpack sprayer with the foliar TeeJet Tip (TeeJet XR11004VS), which will provide an even application.
One of the best plant growth regulators you can use is Primo Maxx. Not only is it incredibly potent for its small size (4 oz diluted with water treats 7,000-16,000 sq. ft), but the built-in measuring cup makes application easy.
2. Summer Lawn Care: Mowing Requirements
By summer, your lawn mowing schedule should be well underway. In spring, mowing commences when temperatures are hitting 50°F, and the grass is at least 2”-2.5” tall. Frequency-wise, you should mow your lawn at least twice per week during the spring. In summer, hotter weather means your lawn will start growing quickly. If you’re set on achieving a golf course lawn, we recommend mowing the lawn every other day in the summer, making sure to remove no more than a ⅓ of the grass blade’s length.
Regarding which mower you use, stay clear of traditional rotary lawnmowers when it comes to mowing heights below 1.25”. These mowers won’t give your grass a clean cut at lower heights and increase the risk of scalping and damaging your turf. A reel mower (a cylinder mower) is the way to go. This mower traps grass between the bed knife and the reel edge to produce a cleaner cut. Most also include a front roller to give you lawn striping options.
For a pristine cut at even lower heights, the Toro Greensmaster 1600 is a great choice. If powered reel mowers are a little out of budget, the Scotts push reel lawn mower is a more cost-effective option.
Make sure to check your lawn mower’s height setting before mowing your grass.
3. Summer Lawn Watering Requirements
Warmer weather will affect your lawn’s watering requirements too. June-August you’ll need to water your lawn 2-3 times a week. This should equate to 1”-1.5” of total water per week. But, the amount you water your lawn depends on the requirements of your grass type. Warm-season grass will need 1” of water, whereas cool-season grass prefers 1.5” to thrive.
Don’t rely on a regimented watering schedule. Watch out for visible signs too. Curly, dull, dry, and compacted grass might need an extra drink.
Related: How Often Should I Water My Lawn?
Depending on your lawn size, you might use an irrigation system. If this is the case, we recommend setting your irrigation times to the early morning (between 4-6 am) when the wind speed is lower and temperatures are cooler. This will allow water to soak deep into your lawn without droplets being blown away or evaporating by the heat of direct sunlight.
If you live in a particularly hot or drought-prone area like the southwest, you can use an exceptional soil moisture manager like Hydretain to reduce your watering requirements by 50% and more. Hydretain draws moisture from everywhere in the soil to the grassroots to make the most of available water, which your turf’s roots can’t reach.
Remember to avoid overwatering your lawn. Overwatering can encourage lawn diseases like root rot and damp-loving weeds like ground ivy. A waterlogged lawn will suffocate your turf and make room for a fungi and moss invasion.
Your lawn will be more vulnerable to diseases like brown patch and dollar spot during springtime. If you still have lawn fungus problems in the summer, try the granular fungicide Headway G to target various lawn diseases.
4. Summer Lawn Weed & Pest Control Tips
In the spring, you should have applied pre-emergent herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides to prepare to disrupt weed and pest life cycles. However, weeds and pests might still plague your lawn, especially when temperatures increase in the summer.
First up, you’ll need to identify the pest, weed, or disease damaging your lawn to know how to most effectively treat the issue. We’ll look at a few common weeds and pests, so you know what to look for.
The white grub is the most common lawn-damaging pest you’ll find. They’re beetle larvae that are off-white and creamy in color. An inch in length, they have brown heads and lie in a C-shape when disturbed.
Armyworms are the larvae of fall, owlet, and armyworm moths. They’re caterpillars which grow to 1”-2” long with dull-colored stripes (brown, gray) across the body. The armyworm’s life cycle usually starts at the beginning of summer (in June).
These pests feed off your grass directly and poison it as they feed. Its oval shape is defined with black and russet overlapping wings. Chinch bugs are tiny, ⅕ of an inch long, with a black triangle at the top of their head.
A billbug can damage your lawn in its larval and adult state. As larvae, they feed on grass and as adults, lay eggs inside grass stems. Billbugs grow to half an inch with black or brown bodies and a long, downwards pointing snout. June is around the time they will start breeding.
These are just a few common pests you’ll find on your lawn in the summer. Read our article on lawn pest management to learn more about the different types of grubs and pests you may encounter.
The Best Lawn Insect Control
To treat all the above common pests and more, use Acelepryn G from Syngenta. This insecticide is safe for people, pets, and the environment and won’t kill useful pollinators and invertebrates. A single application using a broadcast spreader will last all season long against grubs and armyworms in particular.
Identifying Common Lawn Weeds
Weeds enjoy the warmer weather just as much as your turf does. Common lawn weeds can compete with your lawn for essential nutrients and make your yard look messy. Although there are some natural ways to remove weeds organically from your lawn, this might not be enough to eradicate a weed invasion completely.
Dandelions grow everywhere. They’re characterized by bright yellow flowers, which become blowballs or clocks when they’re ready to disperse their seeds. Dandelions have deep, long taproots which makes removing them by hand challenging.
You can tell Crabgrass apart from your turf due to its thicker grass blades. It forms in clusters and spreads across your lawn very quickly.
Bindweed’s leaves are arrow-shaped, and this weed produces pale white and pink trumpet-shaped flowers.
Nutsedge / Kyllinga
Identify Nutsedge from its little flowers, which look like sheaves of corn. Nutsedge has a tall, slender stem with grassy leaves and grows rapidly.
The Best Weed Killers
All these common weeds can be eliminated by choosing a suitable herbicide for your grass type. For more information about weed life cycles and control, read our blog on how to identify weeds that could destroy your lawn.
Cool Season Herbicide Kit
Save time and money with our specially formulated cool-season grass herbicide kit. Combining two weed killers means you’ll get control over 50 broadleaf and grass weed species.
Warm Season Herbicide Kit
Both our herbicide kits contain products that will kill weeds without killing your grass. We’ve even included surfactants and turf mark indicators in our kits to increase product absorption and show where liquid applications have been completed.
5. Caring for Your Lawn in the Summer
The summer months are a busy time for wildlife and the growing season. It’s essential to remain vigilant about pest and weed activity to quickly target any persistent issues. Remember to mow regularly and apply your chosen fertilizer (we like Lebanon Turf’s Humic Max) once a month, alongside a biostimulant (like Essential-G™), to keep your lawn in fighting form.
Need more information? Get going on your golf course lawn journey and enroll on our academy course with a 30-day money-back guarantee.