Winter has left the Chicago area in a quick gust, replacing it with temperatures already in the 90s this spring, with summer yet to come.
How to keep your grass green during those long, hot days?
Water. Typically, water an inch a week, and it’s better to water longer and less frequently than to water a little and more often. That way your grass develops deeper roots to access more moisture in the ground. Water in the morning when it’s cooler, and avoid evening watering, which can lead to fungal growth.
Apply lawn fertilizer to keep grass from going into a dormant phase during hot weather. Fertilizer and weed killer should be applied when temperatures are in the mid 80s or below to avoid stressing grass. Treat your lawn for fungus and other diseases. If you’ve filled in bare spots with seed, note that the Chicago-area climate calls for cool-season grass. Placing a thin layer of grass clippings can help it to grow. Don’t use tall clippings as they can promote mold on your lawn.
A lot of homeowners aren’t aware that mowing the right way goes a long way toward maintaining a lush lawn. Don’t scalp your lawn simply because it may look neater or so that you’ll have to mow less often. Turfgrass is healthier when it’s left longer in summer because, it has a chance to develop that important deeper root system, says Consumer Reports, which adds that taller grass shades the roots, reducing evaporation.
During the hottest dog days of summer allow grass to grow to about 4.5 inches, then adjust your mower deck to 3 to 3.5 inches. Also key is keeping your blades sharp. A dull blade can rip grass, making it prone to disease.