Summer Lawn Care

summer lawn care

Zoysia turf cut short

summer lawn care

Zoysia turf cut high

summer lawn care

Bermuda grass fertilized several weeks ago

Sand application to level low spot in turf

Sand application to level low spot in turf

There is no “one way fits all” for summer lawn care. The images above are of lawns from various friends and my own house. As you can see, the Bermuda and zoysia look good, but the centipede (below) shows winter damage that is typical of the centipede yards in our community.

So, what are the steps I take to ensure a great looking yard other than mowing and edging it regularly? I have a zoysia lawn, and my son has a Bermuda lawn. We basically treat them very similarly. In early spring we put down a pre-emergent, and at green-up we put down a good turf fertilizer.

Now, in late June we are doing several things. First, for weeds in our turf, we are hand pulling big weeds and spot treating weedy areas with a herbicide called Image. When you apply it, be prepared to have some yellowing and browning of your turf, but it will recover. Around this time of the year we apply one application of ammonium nitrate (34-0-0), preferably before a good rain. If no rain is predicted, we water it in well. This really gives the turf a nice deep green appearance, and we will not fertilize again until early fall. Also, watering is the key for beautiful turf, too. Deep watering (30 plus minutes) is much better than that short sprinkles. Also, make sure you get full coverage to avoid weak or brown spots. I only treat fungal problems if I see them. If it is very hot, like the last few weeks, I will limit mowing to about once every ten days. Otherwise, I usually cut and bag my yard once a week.

summer lawn care

Centipede lawn recovering from winter damage

Now, if you have centipede, nothing I said above is advised except cutting and watering. First, fertilizing centipede is not advised. The yard you see above has runners filling in the bare spots. If you have this problem, the best way to help is to remove the old dead turf and rough up the soil to encourage those runners to cover the bare areas. While centipede likes water, be sure to watch for diseases that could appear in its weakened condition. I would delay any application of herbicide until I get good coverage, and only spot spray the herbicide in the established areas. Otherwise, I would hand pull the weeds, and try to get them by the roots, even if you disturb the soil.

A great looking lawn adds value and beauty to any house, and if handled correctly, is not a pain to keep.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “Summer Lawn Care

  1. I agree with you, lawn laying isn’t as easy as TV shows make it look like. There are a lot of things you need to know about turfing, soil preparation and proper lawn care. You gave pretty detailed and easy to understand explanations, but sometimes it’s better to rely on the help of lawn laying experts. I’ve had to fix a lot of lawns because of overly enthusiastic DIY-ers.

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