5 Tips for Summer Lawn Maintenance in the Southeast

5 Tips for Summer Lawn Maintenance in the Southeast

Posted on Jun 29, 2018

How to Help Your Yard Beat the Southern Heat

Those living in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama are all too familiar with the hot, hot sun shining down all day in the summer months. There is a fine balance between too much and not enough sun – either can cause a “dead-looking” (or dormant) lawn. But somehow, there is always that one neighbor on your block with the perfectly lush, green lawn year-round.

While your lawn and garden thrives off sun, your yard needs consistent care and maintenance to survive and flourish through the humidity, sunshine and rains of the Southeast. Here are five expert suggestions for how to care for your property during the most demanding season.

1. Get Your Yard in Shape for Summer

Just like you want that summer bod before hitting the beach, you’ll want to shape up your yard by getting rid of excess growth and feeding it right. Follow these steps to see results in no time:

  • Kill the weeds! Get rid of the weeds, crabgrass and clover however you can. It’s never too late to spray your lawn with weed killer, so it doesn’t have to compete with unwelcome plants for nutrients. We offer a variety of sprayers to make this job as easy as possible, no matter how big or small the property is.
  • Help it breathe! Aerating your lawn gives the root system fresh air and makes it more receptive to fertilizer. The type of aerator you need depends upon your soil bed. A spike aerator is perfect for sandier soil and a core aerator is ideal for harder soil.
  • Feed your lawn! After you weed it, feed it to nurture it along. The fuller your lawn is with healthy grass, the harder it is for weeds to pop up, and the fewer weeds you have, the easier it is for your lawn to fill in! We offer a variety of spreaders to disperse fertilizer: walk-behind, tow-behind and 3-point hitch. We also have a spreader/aerator combination tool, which aerates your lawn then drops seed in right behind it. It’s a big timesaver, which is nice when you’re working in the sun.

2. Be Consistently Consistent

Our experts say to pick a height for your grass and stick with it. And, when you mow, never cut off more than 1/3 the total height of your grass. So, if you want grass 2 inches tall, don’t let it grow past 3 inches before you mow. If you want 4-inch tall grass, don’t let it grow past 6 inches, and so on. That’s our rule of thirds.

Shorter grass clippings are better for mulching (more on that in a bit) and easier for your yard to absorb than longer grass clippings. That said, don’t “over mow” your yard by cutting too often as clippings can pile up and clog your roots system. Too much dead grass can require dethatching and could lead to fungus buildup, which you’d need a specialist to treat. If you “under mow,” you risk cutting off too much, which can kill off grass or create bald spots. It’s a balancing act!

Regardless of what type of grass you have, our experts recommend keeping it around 2.5-3 inches tall. Beyond mowing consistently, follow the schedule on your weed killer to continually “weed and feed” all summer long for best results.

3. Get Right with Rain

While grass needs water to grow, you don’t want to oversaturate or flood your yard. It’s bad for your lawn, and our experts don’t need to remind you that standing water ‘round these parts can attract unwelcome mosquitos. So, be sure to pay attention to how much water your lawn is holding, and dial up or down your watering depending on how much rain you get.

Try to mow at the driest times since it’s not ideal to cut wet grass, for the lawn or the lawn equipment. The yard doesn’t get as clean of a cut as it needs, the wet grass makes the mower work harder and wet clippings can clog up the works.

4. Mulch Early and Often

Here’s what our experts mean by mulching: putting nutrients into your soil by returning grass clippings to your yard. It’s different from side discharge (where clippings sit on top of the grass) and requires a specific type of mower or mowing deck.

Within a mulching mower/deck (like the X300 Select Series), there are two levels of blades. The first blade level trims the clippings and second blade level finely chops the clippings, which are then delivered back to your yard’s root system under the mower deck (so it’s not shooting out of the side).

 

In addition to mulching putting important nutrients back into your yard, it’s safer because your mower won’t run over any random pebbles and side discharge them through a window. It’s better for aesthetics since you’re not sending grass clippings all over flower beds, pools or driveways; and, there’s less cleanup for the same reasons.

Benefits aside, here are our experts’ simple and straightforward suggestions for mulching well:

  • For starters, get yourself a mulching mower.
  • Keep the length of your grass clippings the right size by mowing regularly and following our rule of thirds.
  • Know that the slower you mow, the finer the mulch clippings will be since there will be less grass in the mulching blades at once.

5. It's Maintenance, Man

This tip is for the health and longevity of your equipment. Without functioning equipment, it’s tough to maintain your lawn!

  • Our experts recommend two services a year: one in the middle of mowing season, and one either at end of the season or the start of the next one to check your blades, oil and filters. Need maintenance? Schedule yours now at an Ag-Pro location near you.
  • Because mowers suck up air to help grass stand on end for the cleanest cut, sandier soil in this region can wear out blades and filters so pay special attention to how yours perform; our experts recommend sharpening blades after every 20-25 hours of use, and at the very least doing it as part of your scheduled maintenance.

Two Final Tips for Keeping Sand Out of Your Mower:

  • Don’t cut your grass too low because it’ll just suck up more sand, which can actually wear holes in your mower deck.
  • Fertilize and over-seed for thicker grass so there’s less loose soil for the mower to suck up.

If you follow these tips, you should have a healthy yard no matter how hot summer gets. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Ag-Pro dealer near you in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Texas to talk through any questions that come up. We’re always happy to help work out any issues and recommend tools to make your life easier.

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