It’s really starting to dry out and heat up in Southern New England, and now’s the time your irrigation system to step in for Mother Nature and keep your grounds looking spring fresh! Of course there are a few things you will need to do to get the most for your watering buck, and we’re here to guide you through the process.
1) Check Your Watering Times: Most of us had our systems set for the relatively wet months of early spring, but, given this year’s rainfall, those settings made sense in early summer, as well. Now, however, is the time you may want to tweak your watering times in specific zones (especially those in “full sun”). Remember; long exposure to the sweltering heat and sun of July means your soil retains less moisture, so you’ll have to compensate. For well-established lawns, a longer watering time will work well, but if you’re still establishing a new lawn, a twice daily (before 9:00 AM and after 4:00 PM) schedule should be considered. In any event, each watering session should be enough to moisten the soil at least four inches deep for established lawns (1/2 of an inch for budding or freshly seeded lawns)!
2) Let it Grow!: While it’s tempting to cut one’s lawn short (for that golf course look), this is a bad idea! This is because a lower cut means less shade for your lawn’s thirsty roots, and less shade means less water retention. We advise cutting no lower than three inches! Be careful on curbs and slopes and try to maintain a consistent and even cut.
3) Bug Off: This is the time of the year when pesky ants and other subterranean beasties decide your grass makes for a great place for them to dig their bumpy, unsightly homes. Ant hills are the most noticeable as you’ll see dry sediment and clays churned up in the form of little hills, and, when left untended, these will spread. Even if you’ve treated your lawn for pests in the spring, these guys will come back (hence the name “pests”) and it’s worth the time and expense to re-treat your grounds to get rid of them. Grubs are another annoyance, and can really do a number on your lawn. While the baby grubs feast on your roots, grub-lovin’ varmints like racoons and skunks dig up patches of sod trying to get at them, and the results are a patchy brown disaster! There are a variety of chemical and organic options available to rid your lawn of damaging pests, so look for the option that best suits you.
4) Fungus: Fungi naturally live in grass, and remain dormant until a specific set of conditions arise to bring them out of their slumber. The main cause of damaging lawn fungi is drought, so it’s a good thing you’ve got an irrigation system to take care of it, right? Well, yes and no! Some fungi, such as “Rust”, are brought on by excessive heat and humidity, while Slime Mold (it’s as gross as it sounds) can be a result of overwatering. This is where paying attention to your individual zones watering needs comes into play. It’s also vital that you make sure your rain sensor is in good working order so that you don’t accidentally water your lawn in the middle of a downpour! It’s important to be able to identify which fungus is which as each requires a different set of treatments and adjustments to your maintenance regiment. For a great visual guide, check here!
We hope these tips make the rest of your summer lawn care a (warm) breeze!