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How To Care For Cool Season Lawns In Minnesota During The Summer Heat

How To Care For Cool Season Lawns In Minnesota During The Summer Heat

Once temperatures get into the 80s and above, lawns will begin to struggle a little, with cool-season grasses having the hardest time. Growth will slow, color may fade, and lawns will show signs of wear and tear as they are less able to recover from stress and traffic. Some cool-season lawns will even go dormant in the summer, looking brown and brittle until early fall.

Water Wisely

  • Lawns need at least one inch of water per week, and more when the heat is severe. Use a rain gauge or straight-sided can to keep track of the amount of water received from rainfall and irrigation.
  • Water deeply and less frequently to encourage drought-tolerant roots.
  • Water early in the day to reduce evaporation and fungal growth.
  • Either water your lawn regularly and deeply, or don’t water at all. Don’t let your lawn go brown and dormant, then try to “water it back to life.” If your lawn goes dormant in summer, it should stay that way until fall – don’t worry, it should recover once the weather changes.

Mowing Tips

  • Raise your mower blade in the summer. Taller grass is more drought-tolerant, grows deeper roots, and helps shade the earth to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 3”- 4” during the summer, or as high as your blade will go, while warm-season grasses should be mowed at 2”- 3”.
  • Mulching grass clippings helps keep moisture levels steady.
  • Mow regularly, to prevent cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This keeps your grass healthier and prevents the clippings from smothering the grass.
  • Keep mower blades sharp. Make sure your mower is cutting your grass, not tearing it, to minimize stress during hot temperatures.

Don’t Over Fertilize

If your lawn is looking straggly in midsummer, resist the urge to fertilize. In fact, it’s best to stop fertilizing about 30 days before your area’s summer temperatures arrive. Applying extra fertilizer in the heat of summer can burn your lawn and create a flush of tender growth that will struggle in the hot summer weather. Never fertilize dormant lawns – wait until they green up in the fall.

High-Traffic Areas

By summer, many lawns begin to show signs of wear, especially in a few popular pathways. Consider installing stepping stones to minimize damage to your grass, and try to minimize traffic on dormant, brittle lawns. If you’re getting plenty of rainfall and your lawn is actively growing, you can apply a bit of fertilizer to these areas to help the blades recover faster.

Control Weeds

Summer is the season to get those growing weeds removed before they bloom and disperse seed for next year. Targeted postemergent herbicides are designed to kill broadleaf weeds without harming turf grass, but they must be applied when temperatures will be below 85° F for a few days. Keep in mind that during the heat of summer, ANY product can be damaging to already-stressed lawn grasses, so use sparingly or hand-pull weeds instead.

Insects and Diseases

  • Dormant or drought-stressed summer lawns can be more susceptible to insect infestations, such as chinch bugs, cutworms, armyworms, sod webworms, fire ants, fleas, and mosquitoes. Minor infestations often take care of themselves, but severe problems may require attention.
  • Summer is also the time for fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and brown patch. Apply fungicide if needed, and avoid watering in the evening to keep nighttime moisture at a minimum.
  • Grubs will begin hatching in your lawn over the summer. If grubs typically cause problems in your lawn, you can begin applying grub control around midsummer.

 

5 Most Common Lawn Care Mistakes

5 Most Common Lawn Care Mistakes

Having the greenest lawn in the neighborhood takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge to accomplish.  To help your lawn get started on the right track, we have provided you with the 5 of the most common lawn care mistakes homeowners make when trying to get their lawn on track.

Cutting Lawn Too Short

Mowing grass too short is very harmful to the plant and can actually put it into shock. Cutting off too much of the grass blade will limit its ability to absorb sunshine, which allows it to perform photosynthesis through its leaves and make food. It also weakens the root system.

Set the mower height to about 2 1/2 inches and never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time. The grass will develop a deeper root system to support the longer blades and need less water.

Watering Wrong Time Of Day

Don’t water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. It is best to water between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. There’s usually less wind, less sun, and your lawn has all day to dry.

In the middle of the day, water evaporates too quickly. And in the evenings, water can cling to the blades of grass overnight, which can cause lawn diseases.

Fertilizing Out Of Season

It is best to apply fertilizer when the grass is rapidly growing, not during the hot summer when the grass wants to go dormant anyway. Fertilizing at this time will require more water to support the increased growth.

Fall fertilization is important for root growth and will give the lawn a boost next Spring. Late spring, late summer, and after the last mow of the year are ideal times to fertilize.

Not Testing Soil

Most homeowners just plant grass willy nilly. Grass thrives in soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. 

Send a soil sample to your local extension service for testing and they’ll tell you what your soil needs to make your grass healthy.

Mowing With Dull Mower Blades

Dull mower blades actually tear grass blades leaving them looking brown on the tips and making them more prone to disease and insect damage.

It is recommended to sharpen your lawnmower blades at the beginning of each season and possibly once more about mid-way through the season.

Minneapolis Lawn Mowing Season Is Here

Minneapolis Lawn Mowing Season Is Here

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming the grass is starting to grow and our lawn mowing crews are out and about throughout the Minneapolis area mowing lawns.  This is also the time of year when a lot of our customers have some great questions about lawn mowing.  Below are some of the top questions we receive from existing and new customers.

What Month Do You Start Mowing?

Typically we like to get started mowing lawns late in May or early in June.  However, weather patterns can move these dates up or push them back.

What Is The Best Time Of Day To Mow?

The best time to mow your lawn is throughout the morning and evening hours.  When the sun is at its peak, your lawn is busy photosynthesizing and trying to keep moisture in and mowing during this time can actually stress your lawn.

Is It Good To Cut The Grass Before It Rains?

Mowing your lawn right before it rains is actually the best time to mow.  However, if you miss the rain and still need to mow afterwards, check to see if the blades of grass in your lawn are standing straight or bent over.  If they are bent over, wait an hour or so until they are standing straight because cutting bent blades of grass can lead to a less clean cut.

Can You Cut Your Grass Too Often?

Yes you can.  If you cut your grass too often can be just as damaging as letting it grow too tall.  The rule of thumb here is to never cut more than one-third of the blade of grass.

Do You Have Mowing Questions?

With over 25 years experience mowing all types of lawn throughout Minneapolis, we know a lot.  If you have questions about your lawn and you want expert advice, contact us and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Winter Is Coming!  Prepare Your Lawn & Garden Now.

Winter Is Coming!  Prepare Your Lawn & Garden Now.

Winter Is Coming!  Prepare Your Lawn & Garden Now.

Though many homeowners would love to avoid it, every year winter comes our way. When the snow flies, any work in the garden comes to a halt, so take advantage of our warm fall days to prepare your garden for winter. In doing so, you're eliminating many spring tasks, preventing insect and disease problems, and protecting plants for winter.

 Fertilize Your Lawn

The best time to apply lawn fertilizer is when grass roots are building up natural sugars to store over the long cold Minnesota winter. A winterizing fertilizer should contain a moderate level of nitrogen that will aid in storing sugars and a high potassium content (the last number in the 3 number analysis) to help build a strong root system to help grass survive our winter.

Note Timing is key! Nitrogen must be applied late enough that the lawn has slowed growth, however not late enough that the nitrogen will go unused (when the lawn has gone completely dormant). The best time for fall application of fertilizers is late September to mid-October.

Water Water Water!

All plants require plenty of moisture in fall, so the roots don’t dry out through the winter. Deep root watering is the easiest and most economical way.  A slow drip from your garden hose should do the trick. The block of ice that will form around your roots will ensure they stay hydrated during fluctuating winter temperatures.

Eliminate Overwintering Insects and Diseases

Horticultural Oil is a product that will suffocate overwintering insects. Once leaves have fallen from trees and shrubs, simply mix with water and spray onto branches. Note that temperatures need to be above Oº Celsius.

If you had any problems with fungal diseases such as powdery mildew this past summer, apply lime sulphur spray for great clean up results.

As well, any leaves affected by insects or disease this season should be raked up and discarded to prevent problems next season.

Protect your Plants

Newly transplanted Cedars and Evergreens (as well as tender shrubs such as Rhododendron, Azalea and Boxwood) will require a protective barrier to prevent winter winds from drying them out.

Be sure to secure stakes in the soil to support the burlap so it is at least 6" from the outer foliage. This same ‘shelter’ can be created with a large tomato cage with burlap wrapped around the outside.

Tender roses should be mulched in after the ground freezes hard. Cut your tender roses to 7" from ground level. You can use Stryrofoam Rose Huts or Rose Collars to protect plants. There is no need to mulch hardy roses.

For mulch, simply mound peat moss, compost or clean leaves over the plants then place Rose Hut or Collar around the plant.

SOIL

Fall is the perfect time to incorporate organic matter like compost to improve texture in heavy soils and add an amazing source of nutrients.

Request A Free Estimate

If you live in the Minneapolis, MN area and would like help getting your lawn ready for winter, request a free estimate from us today!