Summer officially starts this weekend and, as promised, we're delivering our quarterly blog on lawns. You can have a lush green yard in Utah by following just a few simple steps each season. Utah summers are typically hot and dry which means we have a focus on water. Many people think that because we live in a dry area that lawns must be impossible to keep green. But this is not true!
Green lawns in Utah are as simple as one, two, three in the summer. Here are our top 3 tips for keeping lawns green during the summer in Utah.
You've probably heard it before but we're going to tell you again. The best way to water your lawn is deeply and infrequently. Because Utah can be such a dry climate we want to encourage your grass roots to grow deep. The way you do this is by watering one to three times a week. During the early summer months, we recommend watering 1" every five days or 1/2" every three days. As the weather warms you can gradually increase water. During July/August we recommend about 3/4″ every 3 days or 1/2″ every 2 days. Use your best judgment. If the heat kicks in early go ahead and up your watering amount.
We love this watering guide from the Conservation Garden Park. They give specific details on how much to water and how often for different soils and plants.
Not sure how much 1" of water is? Measure it! Take old soup cans or several of the same shape glasses and place them over your yard. Turn your sprinklers on for 10 minutes and then measure how much is in each glass. You may find that certain areas of your lawn get more water than others. You can adjust your sprinklers to even out the watering. This will also save you water! And who doesn't love to save water?
Finally, you want to water at the right time. Watering during the heat of the day means you will lose a good portion of the water to evaporation. In order to make sure that the majority of water you are using gets into the ground schedule your watering for before 9 AM or after 7 PM.
Did you know that cutting your grass too low or by too much can damage it? It's true! Short lawns can look great but you lose the natural protective barrier that a little extra height can give a lawn. We recommend keeping your grass cut between 2" to 3". This longer length allows for the roots to be protected. This will also help prevent water loss through evaporation.
Another bonus to keeping your grass a little longer is that you can help prevent weeds from growing. Weeds need sunlight to grow. The natural canopy of longer grass prevents sunlight from hitting the ground and can deter weeds from growing. This is not a full-proof plan. If you are having issues with weeds in your lawn you'll want to apply another layer of pre-emergent during the early summer.
So we've mentioned how tall your grass should be but we haven't told you how often to cut your grass in Utah. This is based on how quickly your grass is growing. Once the grass has matured (about 10 days after planting) it will normally grow about 2/3 cm per week (An inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters if you need help with the conversion like we did). You want to only cut about 1/3 of your grass length. Cutting more of the grass could shock it. You also want to cut frequently because of how grass keeps its pigment. Most of the green color of grass is concentrated on its new growth. Mowing your lawn semi-frequently means you will keep the bright fresh green showing.
Fertilizer will help keep your lawn green, healthy and growing. You want to fertilize your lawn every 30 to 90 days. We
recommend the first fertilizer of the year to happen by early April so your second treatment should be about July 4th.
Make sure your fertilizer is applied properly. A great time to fertilize is a couple of days after a rainstorm. If no rain is on the horizon then you can water a few days after you deep soak your lawn. On fertilization day make sure you apply the fertilizer evenly over the lawn. Once applied, lightly water your lawn. This second watering is important because it will remove the fertilizer from the grass blades and wash it onto the ground. Too much water will wash it all away. Just a light watering will do the job.
Be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn. With grass, too much of a good thing is definitely a bad thing. Too much fertilizer can burn your lawn.
We hope you have a great time enjoying your lawn this summer. If you are looking for any additional help our experts are available at the nursery every day.