There are few things more satisfying than a lush, green lawn. But what if all you see outside your window is a lackluster landscape punctuated by patches of dry, brown grass? “Embrace the brown,” insists Bob Mann, technical expert for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, and one of the nation’s leading lawn care experts.
“Your lawn has a built-in protection mechanism: dormancy. It reacts to lack of moisture and excessive heat by stopping growth. Unfortunately, this also means that it turns brown for a while until things get cooler and wetter. In almost all cases, your lawn will wake up just fine.”
Of course, the lawn is going to require TLC in order to reach its full potential this summer, so we asked Mann for a breakdown of the steps you need to take right now to set it up for success. These three early-summer lawn care tips and five essential products ensure that the grass is greener (and fuller and healthier) on your side of the fence all season long. Let the cookouts commence!
1. Irrigate with intention.
“Make no sudden moves at this time of year! If you’ve been irrigating all along, keep doing it — but make sure you are watering wisely and only when needed,” says Mann. “Likewise, if you haven’t been watering regularly, starting when it gets super hot isn’t going to help all that much.”
He also encourages watering your lawn deeper and less frequently versus the other way around. When you water less frequently, roots respond by drilling deeper into the soil looking for water. When you water more deeply, it gets into the soil and is less apt to evaporate.
In the warmer weather especially, the NALP recommends watering the lawn in the early mornings or evenings after sunset to minimize evaporation. Put the task of watering on autopilot with the set-it-and-forget-it Rain Bird 32ETI In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit, an Amazon customer favorite that’s 55% off right now! Fans say it’s easy to install and adjust. “All the hours I have spent standing watering a berm of evergreens is now a thing of the past. LOVE THIS!” wrote one.
2. Don’t over-mow.
“As a general rule, taller is better,” says Mann. Back in the fall, the expert admonished us not to “scalp” our lawns, and the same applies now. You may like a close shave in the warmer months, but your lawn doesn’t. Cutting the grass too short eliminates the tips of the blades, which conduct photosynthesis.
“Using the highest setting on your mower will help preserve roots, keeping the soil surface cooler and less prone to weed germination,” Mann recommends.
Grab yourself a hardworking mower that gets the job done right this summer. The Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Electric Corded Lawn Mower is one of Amazon’s top sellers, with more than 7,000 five-star reviews. And it’s on sale for under $200, which is a rarity for a brand-name mower with this kind of power.
“Very convenient and easy for a 69-year-old semi-disabled female (5'5" tall 168 lbs.) to operate,” wrote a reviewer. “Just push the button, pull up on the handle lever and off you go.”
3. Ward off weed and insect damage.
“Scouting is key in the summer to detect damaging populations of insects, weeds and diseases” says Mann. He recommends hiring a professional to treat and prevent agents of (lawn) chaos — “they know what to look for and how to repair the damage,” he notes.
But if you’re determined to go the DIY route, “educate yourself of which weeds, insects and diseases you’re dealing with, so that you can select the proper product and technique to get effective control.”
Top pick for weed control
Mann says the best way to ward off weeds is to maintain a lawn that’s so thick, there’s no room for them to grow. If you’re dealing with an overgrown situation, here's your new secret weapon. And yes, it’s on sale!
Top pick for insect control
For pests, Amazon shoppers adore Wondercide EcoTreat Outdoor Pest Control Spray ConcentrateEliminates all kinds of critters, from chinch bugs to Japanese beetles, that are notorious for nibbling on the grass you work hard to grow. Right now, you can get a 16-ounce bottle for 20% off.
Top pick for disease control
The top-rated Scotts DiseaseEx Lawn Fungicide is all you need. Grab a 10-pound bag — enough to cover 5,000 square feet — on sale right now.
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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