“Hello, August. Please be gentle on my lawn.”
The dog days of August can be all-out bummers for lawn.
For a lawn already burnt out from baking under two months of summer and unprepared for the grueling harsh heat and humidity of summer’s closing act, August can be the roughest month of the year. It can feel like you’re being cooked in the sun’s oven 24/7.
This is when many under-cared-for lawns show the wear and tear of summer rather than vibrant evergreen look of a lawn thriving no matter what Mother Nature is throwing its way day to day.
“These are the days when everything seems languid and still – except mosquitoes, of course – and the sun threatens to bake lawns, gardens and gardeners alike,” Today’s Homeowner writes.
How can you keep your lawn looking lush and lively during the hot sun oven days of August? First and foremost, stick to your lawn care script with a few minor adjustments.
“In late summer, you should continue the top-notch watering and mowing practices you’ve put into place,” This Old House stresses.
Mow your lawn at the highest blade setting possible. August’s heat can bake grass an Arizona desert shade of brown. Mowing grass at a higher level both helps shade the blade and allows your lawn to retain moisture. At this point of the season, most lawns that have not recently received over-abundant rainfall will need to be mowed just once a week.
Balancing growth and moisture levels is one of the most essential parts of lawn care.
If you notice your grass still looking dull after cutting, consider sharpening your mower blades.
“A dull blade tears grass, creating a ragged edge that loses moisture more readily than a clean cut,” Scotts.com notes.
This late in the summer, it’s more important than ever that your lawn still receives a regular supply of nutrients.
Continue your regular schedule of applying fertilizer every 6-8 weeks. Be sure to avoid nitrogen fertilizers. Water in early morning 2-4 times per week to give your lawn more hydration as the day’s temperatures swell. Early-morning watering allows water to reach the roots rather than evaporate in the hot summer air.
Remember, lawns ideally need 1 inch of water per week.
Can I Aerate in August?
Most definitely. A core aerator can break up compacted soil and pull up plugs or cores in the soil from the ground, creating air vents that allow your grassroots to access air, nutrients and water.
“This gives your lawn extra hardiness, helping it withstand stressors,” This Old House notes.
Overseed If Needed
If the wrath of summer’s heat has your grass looking like a before picture in a Hair Restoration Infomercial, overseeding can restore it to its former glory. Overseeding revives bare patches and thinning grass by sowing additional seed over existing grass. Overseeding also thickens your turf.
Remember, weeds never take a day off. They are the rare plant that enjoys 100-degree heat indexes. Continue pulling weeds when you notice them. A rash of weeds can suck the moisture from your grass when it needs it the most.
The August Lawn Health Check List
Here’s our August Lawn Care To-Do List:
- Regular mowing
- Feed if required
- Aerate compact areas
- Weed control
- Scarify (If Needed)
The Lawn Rules of August
Remember, not even a Better Homes & Garden cover lawn is exempt from August’s burning heat. Some visible wear and tear of the calendar’s most grueling season is to be expected. But with a little resolve and attention to detail, you can help your lawn escape summer’s most brutal heat green, mostly unscathed and ready for fall.
For the work for a healthy lawn next spring begins in August.