By Connie Kotke, Master Gardener
Thanks to warmer temperatures, our spring growing season this year arrived about 2.5 weeks ahead of normal. Hopefully, you accelerated a few of your early lawn care chores—like spreading pre-emergent crabgrass preventer or laying new sod. Here are some to-do’s for June to create a healthy, attractive lawn your family will enjoy all summer long.
Simple Steps for Healthy Lawns
Good lawn care habits begin now and continue through late fall. You’ll reap the rewards immediately . . . and avoid costly repairs or restorations down the road.
- Fertilize with an organic or manufactured nitrogen blend to promote growth:
- Carefully follow all instructions on the bag; lawns require different amounts and frequency of fertilization depending on grass type, amount of shade and water, and other factors.
- Clean up excess fertilizer from sidewalks, driveways and gutters to prevent runoff into nearby lakes or streams.
- Water efficiently:
- Once a week to a depth of six inches. You can test this using a soil probe or long metal rod. You can wait even longer if rain amounts are higher than average.
- Early in the morning, when it’s less windy (typically between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m.). This ensures water makes its way into the soil—rather than evaporating–where it can be taken up and used by the grass during the warm daylight hours. It also helps prevent fungal diseases that can occur when lawns are wet overnight.
- Mow with a sharp mower blade set at the proper height (3 inches in spring and fall, 4 inches in mid-summer)
- Use a mulching mower and leave your clippings on the lawn to act as natural fertilizer.
- Change your mowing pattern regularly to prevent damage from the wheels.
- Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade length.
- Watch for damage from grubs and other critters.
- Adult Japanese Beetles emerge from the ground in late June or early July. Until then, grubs are busy eating grass roots and thatch.
- Accurately identify the problem before applying a remedy! Contact the U of M Ask a Master Gardener help line at 612-301-7590 for assistance.
For more information, check out these University of Minnesota Extension resources:
General Lawn Care Guidelines, University of Minnesota Extension
Lawn Care Calendar, University of Minnesota Extension