Happy New Year everyone ! We hope this year will be your best ever.
No one wants their lawn to look like this, and unfortunately many here on the Island did. So what can you do to help reduce this if we have another hot summer ?
Keeping your lawn looking it's best can involve several steps depending on how much you want to spend to have a green lawn. Most of what you can do is not expensive though.
1) Keep your mower set at 3 inches. Cutting the lawn too short will stress the grass by not providing enough surface area for good photosynthesis. At 3 inches the grass will help shade the soil and retain moisture. A stressed lawn is more prone to weeds developing while a healthy lawn will crowd out many weeds.
2) Keep the lawn mowed. Many people stopped mowing last summer as the grass was not growing quickly, but that gives weeds a chance to take over and go to seed creating more weeds.
3) In the Spring have the lawn aerated. This can also be done in early Fall if you don't get to it in the Spring. Aeration helps break up compacted soil making it easier for water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the root system. The roots will be able to grow better and provide a healthier grass.
4) After aeration, overseed the lawn. You can apply a starter fertilizer to help the new seeds get going if you want. Do NOT use a weed and feed after overseeding for about 6 to 8 weeks so the new grass is strong enough to take the herbicide in the weed and feed. You will want to water the lawn for several days after overseeding to get the new grass to germinate. You want the grass damp but not saturated so several short waterings are better than one long soaker. If you can get this done early enough in the Spring the rains will do most of the watering for you.
5) IF you have many low spots or bare spots you can consider top dressing the lawn. This is labor intensive and expensive to do the entire lawn. It involves measuring the area you want to top dress and ordering enough compost to cover the entire area about 1/4 of an inch deep then raking the compost in so the grass blades stick through. Then overseed the lawn and water to settle the compost and seeds.
Sadly a long hot dry summer will turn most lawns yellow if you don't water but having a healthy lawn at the start of the summer will keep it green longer and help it bounce back when the rains return in the Fall. Keeping the lawn at 3 inches will mean lass watering and give the grass a chance to retain what mosture there is longer so the occasional rain may be enough to keep it green all summer.