While a lot of attention goes into getting your lawn ready in the spring, proper maintenance throughout the summer will not only help it stay green and full, but will also maximize its environmental benefits.
It helps to think of your lawn as a dense forest of little grass plants. It produces oxygen and stores carbon, has a cooling effect in hot summer months and improves water quality by storing and filtering water that would otherwise flow into storm sewers, catch basins or nearby streams, rivers or lakes.
“We often think of our grass as little more than a decoration around our homes that needs to be mowed and watered every now and then,” says Arvils Lukss, president of Landscape Ontario’s Toronto chapter. “But a healthy, green lawn is more than just pleasing to the eye. It is a vital tool in our effort to create a greener, more environmentally-aware society.”
Here’s a few important tips for a healthy summer lawn:
Cut the grass high
If you set your mower too low, you put your grass at risk of being scorched under the blazing summer sun. Best to mow at a healthy length of about 2½ to 3½ inches.
This is more than just a spring job. Spread a well balanced fertilizer on your lawn every six weeks or so to promote strong roots and you’ll end up with a thick lawn that will quite literally squeeze out weeds.
Water and know when not to
Unless you have just planted grass seed, there is no need to put the sprinkler on your lawn every day. Once a week should do, about one inch of water each time. A tip for measuring how much water is getting on your lawn: place the lid from a peanut butter jar hollow-side up; most of them are about an inch deep so when it fills up, your lawn has had a good soaking. However, it is also important to respect local watering bans.
Don’t fret too much if your lawn does start to brown during extended dry periods — it will come back.
Put your rake away
Your grass clippings are more valuable being left on your lawn than being sent to a compost heap or, worse, a landfill site. Grass thrives on nitrogen, and grass clippings return that to the soil. To avoid unsightly lines of clippings yellowing on your lawn, invest in a mulching mower.
“Think long term and dedicate yourself to building a healthy lawn around your home,” says Lukss. “It will improve the look of your property and is also good for the environment.
Editor, Dawn Boshcoff