A new idea for homeowners living in the Richmond, VA area: You can maintain a beautiful lawn throughout the summer with a few simple chores between your lawn service visits.
You may like care for your lawn. While your to-do list may be longer, some regular cultural habits will keep your lawn thick and green throughout the summer.
11 Lawn Maintenance Jobs for You
While maintaining your lawn may feel like a chore, especially if you have a large property, it’ll become part of your summer habits if you incorporate regular upkeep.
The secret to a green, thick lawn with few weeds is in its maintenance. Healthy turfgrass will grow densely to crowd out weeds. However, it needs regular maintenance to get to that state.
Here are 11 lawn care jobs that you need to do to keep your lawn looking its best and surviving another Virginia summer:
- The right grass growing in the right spot: Your lawn will grow thick and green when you plant the right grass seed at the right place.
For example, many fescues can handle shade. Tall fescue works well in shade and sun, while Kentucky blue and perennial rye like full sun.
If you have bare spots on your lawn, for example, it may be because you planted shade-tolerant fescue in full sun.
- Regularly mowing your lawn at the right time of day: In the early spring, you’ll need to cut your cool season grasses (Kentucky blue, fescues, perennial ryegrass) every week because your turf is actively growing.
Don’t mow in the early morning hours because the grass will still be wet from last night’s dew. Instead, mow your lawn in the late morning or early evening when the sun isn’t at its highest point.
By the way, cool season grasses grow best in cooler climates and warm season grasses grow well in warmer temperatures.
In the summer, though, you may notice your cool season grasses go brown. But don’t worry – your lawn isn’t dead! It just went into dormancy.
Once temperatures cool down and regular rain returns, your cool season lawn will green up again.
- Your lawn mower must have sharp blades: While you have many choices with mowers, the cutting blades must always be sharp. You want to cut your lawn cleanly, so there’s no injury on the grass plant.
- Mow in different directions: If you have ruts in your yard, it’s because you mow in the same direction each time you cut your grass. Instead, cut the lawn in opposite directions to avoid ruts and give both sides of turf a regular cut.
- Soil/pH testing: Before you put down any fertilizer or lime on your lawn, you first need to test the soil to see what’s missing. Your turfgrass needs regular applications of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate.
Also, the soil’s pH affects your turf and how it uptakes nutrients. Any soil test that you purchase should test both the level of nutrients in the ground as well as its pH.
Virginia lawns grow well in slightly acidic soil within the pH range of 6.0 – 7.0. If your test results say that your soil is too acidic, you need to add lime to make it more basic.
- Fertilizing your lawn: Once you know what nutrients are missing in the soil, you can go to your independent garden center or big retailer to buy fertilizer.
Read the back of the bag. You’ll see three sets of numbers: 10-10-10 or 20-0-10. Those numbers tell you the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium percentages by weight in the bag.
- Watering your lawn: Did you know that you shouldn’t water your yard every day—even if it’s during a hot, dry spell in July? Contrary to popular opinion, your turfgrass only needs infrequent, deep watering a few times per week.
You also want to install an in-ground irrigation system or put out soaker hoses to water your lawn. You can install a timer on your soaker hoses or get a timer included with your outdoor sprinkler system to set the times when the irrigation system should turn on and off.
Also, get moisture sensors to shut off your system when the soil has enough moisture. Bluetooth technology make it easy to control your outdoor sprinkler system no matter your location.
- Your lawn and weeds: Weeds are a reality. However, it helps to know what you’re doing battle with, so learn to identify which weeds are plaguing your lawn.
Grassy weeds include crabgrass and Poa annua. Broadleaf weeds include dandelions and chickweed.
You limit grassy weeds by using pre-emergent weed control on your lawn before these weeds germinate—usually in March or April. Pre-emergent weed control stops grassy weeds by developing a barrier in the soil to keep them from germinating.
Broadleaf weeds, on the other hand, start popping up between April and May. You can control them by hand-pulling or by spraying broadleaf weed control directly on the weed.
Your best method for controlling weeds in your lawn includes using innovative lawn management practices mentioned on this list. Taking care of your turfgrass allows it to grow thick and dense, keeping weeds from growing in your yard.
- Pest control: Turf pests, such as grubs, will eat the roots of your turf and destroy your lawn. Other pests will eat other grass parts. The most common pests are grubs, armyworms, webworms, and cutworms.
Your independent garden center or retailer will have pest control products for the lawn. Make sure you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions before using the product.
- Core aeration and overseeding: After the summer heat has passed, it’s time to aerate and overseed your VA lawn. An aerator pulls soil plugs out of the ground so it can breathe.
Aeration also opens up your lawn for additional nutrients, seed, oxygen, and water. And it relieves the earth of soil compaction so grass plants can develop deep root systems over the winter.
- Sod: Fall is the perfect time to lay down sod if you prefer it over grass seed because you have an instantaneous lawn. At BCLS Landscape, we have a report to help you lay sod.
Enjoy Your Weekends and Let BCLS Landscape Take Care of Your Lawn Maintenance for You
Managing a lawn over the summer is time-consuming. If you’re a busy professional with a family, you may not want to spend entire weekends working in the yard.
Instead, hire us at BCLS Landscape to do the work for you. Our Landscape Services includes weekly mowing, regular fertilizing, insect and weed control, as well as many other services that keep your property looking beautiful.
Make your Landscape Service appointment today by calling us at (804)752-0052 or filling out our contact form. We look forward to working keeping your Richmond, VA property looking its best all season long.
BCLS Landscape Services provides property care to residential and commercial properties throughout Richmond and Central Virginia.
LoveYourLandscape.org, “5 Common Pests That Like to Call Your Lawn Home.”
Ibid, “Fertilizing 101.”