8 Common Questions About Summer Lawn Care In Utah

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Utah summers can be tough on lawns. The intense heat, dry air, and occasional drought conditions create a challenging environment for maintaining a lush, green yard. With the right knowledge and care, however, your lawn can thrive even in the harshest summertime conditions. To help make sure our readers get the most out of their lawns this summer, we have put this guide together to answer some common questions about summer lawn care in Utah

1. When & How Should I Fertilize My Lawn In Summer?

While spring and fall are the primary times for fertilizing your lawn, a light application of slow-release fertilizer in early summer can give your grass a boost. Avoid fertilizing during the hottest, driest periods, as this can stress the grass and burn the roots. You should also avoid liquid fertilizers through the hottest part of the season. Liquid products will quickly evaporate right off the grass blades if temperatures are too high and the grass is in direct sunlight, meaning the nutrients never get a chance to reach the soil.

  • What type of fertilizer should I use in summer? Look for a fertilizer specifically formulated for Utah lawns that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the NPK ratio). The NPK ratio will be listed on the bag, and you'll want to choose one that is balanced or slightly higher in nitrogen. Liquid forms of the fertilizer are the best option if you need immediate results, but remember to apply them early in the morning and/or during a cooler stretch of the season in order to avoid evaporation. 

2. When Should I Water My Lawn In Summer?

The ideal time to water your lawn in Utah is early in the morning, before the sun's rays become too intense. Watering between 6 am and 10 am allows the water to soak deep into the soil before evaporation takes over. Avoid watering in the late afternoon or evening, as wet grass overnight can create an environment that encourages fungal growth.

  • How often should I water my lawn in summer?  The frequency of watering depends on factors like your grass type, soil composition, and weather conditions. In general, aim for deep, infrequent watering sessions. Most Utah lawns need about 1-2 inches of water per week during the summer. This can be achieved with two or three deep soakings rather than frequent, shallow watering. Deep watering encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, making your lawn more drought-tolerant.

3. How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

Mowing frequency depends on the type of grass you have and how quickly it grows. For most Utah lawns, mowing once a week or every other week during the summer is sufficient. The key is to never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. Cutting too much can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease.

  • How short should I cut my grass? It's important to avoid scalping your lawn in the summer. Leave the grass a little longer, around 3-4 inches for cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. This helps shade the soil, reduce evaporation, and keep the roots cooler and able to grow deeper for a more lush lawn. 

4. How Can I Prevent Weeds In My Lawn During Summer?

Maintaining a healthy, dense lawn is the best defense against weeds. Regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing will help your grass outcompete unwanted plants. If weeds do appear, pull them by hand or use a spot treatment of herbicide. Of course, if you are concerned about a large weed infestation returning from the previous year, pre-emergent herbicides are the most effective way to block weeds from ever popping up in the first place. Apply these products directly to the areas of concern, and avoid excess watering until the product has seeped into the soil. 

  • Are there any natural weed prevention methods? Yes! Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that can help prevent weed seeds from germinating. Regularly aerating your lawn can also help reduce weed pressure by improving soil conditions and allowing your grass to grow more vigorously (but no more than twice a year).

5. How Can I Deal With Brown Spots In My Lawn?

Brown spots can be caused by various factors, including drought stress, fungal disease, insect damage, pet urine, or even buried debris. To diagnose the problem, look for patterns in the brown spots, check the soil moisture, and examine the grass blades for signs of disease or insects. For example, spongy brown spots in your lawn that peel back like a carpet are typically signs of lawn grub damage, whereas stiff and/or brittle spots could be a sign of fungal infection.

  • Should I overseed my lawn in summer? Overseeding is best done in the spring or fall when temperatures are cooler and moisture is more consistent. However, if you have small bare patches, you can try overseeding them in the summer. Be sure to keep the area consistently moist until the new grass is established.

6. Should I Aerate My Lawn In Summer?

Aeration is typically recommended in the spring or fall. However, if your lawn has compacted soil, you can aerate it in early summer to improve air and water circulation to the roots. Aeration involves removing small plugs of soil, which helps to loosen the soil and allows oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach the roots more easily.

  • What is the best way to aerate my lawn?  You can rent a core aerator from a local home improvement store or hire a professional lawn care service to do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself, be sure to water your lawn thoroughly beforehand to soften the soil and make aeration easier. You may also consider looking into the benefits of liquid aeration for Utah soil types, especially in summer. 

7. How Can I Protect My Lawn From Pests & Diseases In Summer?

Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best defense against pests and diseases. Proper watering, mowing, and fertilizing practices will help your grass resist these threats. Avoid overwatering and over-fertilizing, as this can create conditions that are favorable to pests and diseases.

  • What are some common lawn pests in Utah?  Grubs, billbugs, and sod webworms are common lawn pests in Utah. If you notice signs of insect damage, such as brown spots, wilting grass, or chewed blades, consult with a lawn care professional to identify the pest and determine the appropriate treatment. Treatments for one type of pest may not be effective for other types, so it is always best to get a professional opinion.

8. When Should I Seek Professional Help For My Lawn?

If you're struggling with persistent lawn problems, such as brown spots, weeds, or pests, or if you simply don't have the time or expertise to care for your lawn yourself, don't hesitate to seek professional help. A lawn care expert can diagnose problems, recommend solutions, and implement a customized lawn care plan to help your lawn thrive.

  • Is there a trustworthy lawn service in Utah? If you are in the Salt Lake area and looking for the best professional lawn care services available, look no further than Holmes Lawn & Pest. We specialize in liquid fertilizer and liquid aeration application to keep your lawn green and lush all summer long. Contact us today for a free quote!

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