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Florida lawn Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Managing Your Lawn During the Summer: 5 Steps to a Healthy Lawn

The summer months in central Florida are wet and hot and it is important to maintain your lawn with those conditions in mind.  What should you be doing to maintain a healthy lawn during this time of year? There are five important steps to summer lawn maintenance.

1. Water
It rains in the summer. A lot. Too much water is not a good thing for your lawn. Make sure you monitor rainfall and maintain a functioning rain shut-off device if you choose you leave your sprinkler system controller in the “on” position.  We recommend turning the system off and only manually turning it on to run if necessary.  Too much water can cause disease and pest issues that can damage the lawn.  Remember, you only need to water your lawn with supplemental irrigation when you 1) see dry spots, 2) see folded leaf blades and 3) your footprints remain visible on the lawn after you have walked on it.

2. Insects
Insects thrive in hot and humid weather. The best thing to do is get in a routine of scouting your lawn for insects.  You can make a simple walk around the yard once a week (a great thing to do in the early morning with a cup of coffee).  If you find something that looks discolored, thin or problematic, inspect the area more closely.  Look at the leaf blades for spots and insects. Remember that our Plant Clinic can help you properly identify a pest if you don’t know what it is.  Spot treat the infected area, not the whole lawn. It is important to scout so that you can catch insect damage early before it affects the entire lawn.

3. Disease
While you are scouting for insects, you can also scout for signs and symptoms of disease.  Diseases may start as yellow or brown patches and it is important that you closely monitor shady areas of the lawn that do not dry out as quickly as the sunny spots.  The Plant Clinic can help you diagnose disease problems and spot treatment to the infected area, not the whole lawn, is recommended.

4. Mowing
Mowing to the proper height for your grass type is important.  Keep your mower blades sharp and never mow when the grass is wet. See the table below for suggested mowing heights.

5. Fertilizer
Apply fertilizer only if it is needed and follow UF/IFAS recommended guidelines. Remember to never apply fertilizer before a rain event, so watch the weather carefully if you choose to apply fertilizer in the summer months.

Following recommended practices within the five areas of water, insects, disease, mowing and fertilizer application will help your lawn thrive during the hot summer months in central Florida.  If you have questions about your lawn, contact the Plant Clinic at (863)519-1057 Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm.  You can also come in with samples or email us photos.

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