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8 Secrets to Healthy Lawn

Summer lawn care involves a variety of tasks including daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Proper summer lawn care means the difference between a lovely lawn for activities or nightmares with pest and disease problems. Follow these tips for a super summer lawn.

Get a soil test. Before summer is too long in the tooth, get a soil test. Your lawn care provider can provide this, or you can collect a sample and send it to your cooperative extension agency. The soil test will let you know if you need to adjust the pH level of your soil and the amount of nutrients you will need to apply.

Water your lawn a couple of times a week, but water thoroughly. You will most likely need to give your lawn 1-2 inches of water during each watering. This amount and frequency will help promote healthy root growth.

Mow the lawn regularly. If you let your grass grow to five inches and then cut it back to one inch, you will stress out the grass. It is best to maintain your lawn at a height where you can mow and remove only 1/3 of the grass blade at a time.

Aerate high-traffic areas once a month. Low-traffic areas can be aerated in late summer, only. Aerating the lawn helps promote root growth by alleviating compaction problems. The soil will spread out to fill in the holes created by the aerator, which allows more pores in the soil for water and air movement.

Use a mulching mower so that grass clippings break down into the soil. Grass clippings do not contribute to thatch problems, as many people assume. Grass clippings help provide natural nutrients to your grass and aid in water retention.

Check for fungal problems. Fungal problems in grass develop most often during humid conditions which allow fungus to spread. Your lawn might have a fungal problem if there are large brown patches around the lawn.

Fertilize appropriately. Summer fertilizing is not as important as fall fertilizing, but most lawns will require at least one application of fertilizer. Choose a fertilizer that has some nitrogen in controlled-release form so that you do not burn your lawn. Also, a controlled-release fertilizer will deliver a steady stream of nutrients to the grass plants as they need it.

Measure and deal with lawn thatch. Lawn thatch is a layer of living and dead material between the grass blade and the root system. A large buildup of thatch creates a warm, cozy environment for pests and diseases to grow. More than ½ an inch of thatch is not good for the lawn. The best method to rid a lawn of thatch during the summer is to aerate and top-dress with soil.

Steve Habib is a lawn care expert and president of Landscape Problem Solver located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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