Late Summer Lawn Care at Lake of the Ozarks

Little girl sitting grass looking unhappy

Perhaps you’ve found, like many other homeowners, that you had a great looking lawn for the first half of this year. But now, since August has come, your lawn seems to be going downhill!  Here are some reasons why this often happens.

When to Plant Grass Seed

First, think about what you were doing prior to this summer’s heat and dry spells.  Did you overseed or plant new grass seed in early fall last year?  If so, it has had a good nine months to grow and establish a healthy root system.  Many don’t realize that this is why fall is the best time of year to plant grass seed, as well as other greenery like trees and shrubs.  The ground is still warm through the fall months, and typically, rainfall will stabilize as well. Also, intense heat, weeds, and insects don’t present as much of a problem so grass and plants can establish quite well.  

Should you choose to wait to plant grass seed in the spring, it has significantly less time to get established before it gets hit with hot, dry weather. By the way, thank you for that, Mother Nature!  However, if you find yourself needing to address bare spots in your lawn, then applying grass seed in the spring is a good idea. Otherwise, you can get weeds taking over in those areas.

Pro Tip: We highly recommend Black Beauty grass seed for a richer, stronger, and healthier lawn in Missouri. (Learn more here.)

That Darned Crabgrass!

For many, crabgrass is a problem in their lawn.  If so, did you apply a crabgrass control last spring?  Perhaps it was applied too soon for the control to be as effective later on as it might have been. Like our Spring here at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri this year, cool temps and wet weather can delay crabgrass germination until later in the season. Plus, our excessive rain undoubtedly washed out some of the effectiveness of your earlier crabgrass control.

We recommend the application of your crabgrass control later in the spring, thus extending the length of control it provides. We also suggest that you apply a second application sometime in early June. This would extend control deeper into the summer months.  By way of reminder, crabgrass is a problem only in the more sunny areas of your yard.

Crabgrass growing next to a sidewalk
Crabgrass is a common nuisance for many lawns in Missouri.

More Frequent Lawn Fertilizer Use

Have you fertilized your lawn more than once this growing season?  If not, then you need to know that your lawn is hungry!  Healthy grass needs to be fed more than just one or two times a year.  In fact, during the peak growth season (March – November) your lawn really needs to eat three to four times per year. Doing this will foster better growth, resistance to insects, and better performance through heat and drought.  

Just like animals or any other living thing, plants and grass need nourishment, too.  Use Jonathan Green Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer or Love Your Soil for hard compacted soils such as we have at Lake of the Ozarks. Turf Pro Mag-I-Cal is a superb all-in-one product that combines the performance of our fertilizers and adds pH adjusting power to balance soil pH, stimulate microbial life, and encourage nutrient absorption. (Available locally at Southwest Stone Supply, your local and regional supplier.)

We encourage our customers to consider adapting their fertilizing program to include some organic lawn fertilizers.  These are excellent to help promote soil health and they can also equip the soil to retain more moisture.  When you promote biological activity in your soil you will be able to grow healthier grass.

Our Jonathan Green organic products promote healthy soil, which is necessary for a healthy lawn.  The traditional fertilizers you’ll buy at local big box stores tend to feed the grass but they do not address important soil conditions.  Additionally, organic products will administer a steady, gentle feeding during these intense summer months.

Pro Tip: Do not fertilize your lawn when temps exceed 85 degrees and when humidity levels are high. 

This will help eliminate the potential to burn your grass while it is suffering stress from heat and drought conditions.

Best Watering Practices for Your Lawn

Let’s talk about your lawn watering practices.  Improper watering leads to more lawns being damaged than nearly any other factor.

Both over-watering and under-watering present dangers for grass. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to allow one inch of water per week from either rainfall or irrigation.  However, during severe hot, dry weather you’ll want to increase your watering schedule to three to four times per week and for longer duration. It’s no exaggeration to say that your lawn watering practices from spring through summer are a primary factor that helps determine how well your lawn will survive. 

If you water too much, it can cause your grass to have shallow roots. Then, when severe summer temps come your lawn really suffers.  Have you ever gone on vacation and discovered that your lawn had turned brown?  Or, have you ever forgotten to turn on your sprinkler system?  When the heat and droughts are very severe, your lawn can go dormant in order to protect itself.  This is nature’s way of grass trying to survive severe conditions.  The good news is that if your lawn is healthy and well-established it will restore itself in the fall when the weather normalizes.

Final Thoughts

We hope your lawn has held up well this summer so you can enjoy your lake home lawn and have some fun without additional lawn care headaches.  However, if you wish to improve your lawn, consider a new, long-term approach to your lake home lawn care with Jonathan Green seed and lawn care products available at Southwest Stone Supply in Osage Beach, MO.

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