By the time fall rolls around here in Michigan, it’s not uncommon for our lawns to look a little rough. With the kids out of school and the constant weekend backyard barbeques, our lawns are dealing with a lot of stress. Giving your lawn a boost this fall will ensure it’s healthy next spring. Luckily, here at Custom Personalized Lawn Care, we have the lawn renovation guide that you need.
The first, and most obvious, sources of stress on your lawn this summer is the sun. Heat stress combined with drought conditions can absolutely wreak havoc on your lawn, leaving it susceptible to disease and pests. Signs that your lawn may be suffering from drought include: patches of grass turning brown or the leaves of the trees begin to wilt or curl. You can check if your area is in a drought by checking this drought monitor.
One of the best ways to help a lawn that’s suffering from drought is with proper irrigation. Check that all the zones in your irrigation system are working properly and make adjustments as needed. Keep in mind, the correct amount of water that a lawn needs is about one inch per week.
Water early in the day to allow it to reach deep into the soil it evaporates away. Buy a rain gauge to keep track of how much water your lawn receives from rain. This will help you conserve water and save you from overwatering.
A creative way to help your lawn with moisture retention is to raise your mower deck to its highest setting. Taller grass encourages deeper root growth and makes your yard more drought-tolerant. The tall grass will also shade the soil, aiding in moisture retention. Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn also adds water and nutrients back into your turf.
By the end of summer, you may see bare patches in your grass and your turf may feel spongy underfoot. If this is the case, then you may have compacted soil, excess thatch, or both. Let’s start with soil compaction.
Soil compaction is when the soil in your yard becomes hard and compacted. Compacted soil is typically caused by increased foot and vehicle traffic. It’s worse in the summer because more people spend time out on their lawns playing, entertaining, and mowing. Soil compaction is a big problem by the end of the summer.
Compacted soil makes life difficult for your grass, plants, and trees. The hard soil cuts your grass roots off from water, nutrients, and air. Without these essential components getting down to the root zone, your grass and plants will suffer. When you have soil compaction, the best course of action is core aeration.
Aeration services will pull up plugs of compacted soil and redistribute them across your lawn. This relieves soil compaction and allows grass roots to spread out and grow deeper. Aeration also gives your grass roots easy access to the air, water, and nutrients that they need to thrive. The best time to aerate your Michigan lawn is in the late summer or early fall.
Thatch is a layer of organic material and grass clippings that settles at the base of your grass blades. It creates a barrier just above the soil surface. Having a thin layer of about ½ inch is actually beneficial to your grass. Some benefits of a small layer of thatch include: moisture retention, protection from changing temperatures, and some protection from soil compaction.
If you have excess thatch of more than one inch, then your lawn will need some help. Too much thatch causes problems like: nutrients and water not reaching the soil, fertilizers, and pest control not reaching the soil, and more diseases and pests. So, how do you dethatch your lawn?
For a small yard, a thatching rake would work fine. For dethatching larger yards, it’s best to use a power dethatcher or a power rake. Aeration is also a good idea to relieve your lawn of soil compaction and excess thatch at the same time. The best time to dethatch your Michigan yard is in the late summer and early fall.
As we approach the fall, it’s easy to let the weeds get out of control. Broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, white clover, and ground ivy actually thrive this time of year. This means that it’s important to have a broadleaf weed control strategy.
You’re in luck, late summer and fall are the best times to do broadleaf weed control. These pesky weeds begin storing energy in their root systems in the fall, to prepare for the winter. This means that herbicide treatments will be especially effective at this time.
Having a lawn care program that includes a late summer broadleaf weed control will help you a lot this fall. Otherwise, apply your herbicide on a sunny day when there is no rain in the forecast. Spray your weeds and allow the weed killer to dry on the leaves.
Controlling broadleaf weeds is a lawn renovation service that you shouldn’t skip this year. Taking care of the weeds now will remove the competition from your lawn. This allows your grass to grow and store all the nutrients it needs to survive the winter and bounce back next spring.
Fertilizing your lawn in the summer is very different than fertilizing your lawn in the spring. As we get ready for fall here in Michigan, our fertilizer strategy changes. It’s important to know what to feed your lawn in the different seasons.
A lot of what we do for our lawn depends on the type of grass we have. Here in Michigan, we have cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye, and tall fescue. Cool-season grasses go dormant in the summer and winter. Their growing seasons are throughout the spring and fall.
When it comes to feeding your existing lawn, late summer and early fall are the best times to do it. Investing in a lawn care program that includes a fall feeding is an excellent idea. If you do it on your own, use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer around the middle of September. This allows your grass to store up energy while helping root growth, setting it up for success next year.
Lawn renovation services will give your lawn the boost it needs to survive the Michigan winter and bounce back in the spring. Plan ahead with services like our lawn care program, aeration services, and flea & tick services. Thinking ahead will save you time and money in the long-run.