Summer is a tricky time to keep our lush lawns green. A combination of active growth, heat, and drought stress can leave your turf dry, brittle, and looking pale.
Applying fertilizer and watering your yard are great solutions, but depending on your grass type, this can be tough to manage throughout the year.
With summer months approaching, figuring out which fertilizer type will give our lawns strong root growth and green grass is essential. Tall grass and a green lawn are achievable no matter where you live as long as you implement a climate-appropriate lawn program for summer applications of fertilizer for grass.
Read on to learn how to maintain the right nitrogen levels with a routine summer fertilizer treatment anyone can stick to.
Which Lawn Fertilizer Can Be Applied in the Summer?
Depending on your grass type and climate, there are several kinds of fertilizer that can be applied during the summer months. Fertilizer in summer is needed for extra growth and to prevent brown patches.
Using the correct type of fertilizer in your summer lawn care program can prevent broadleaf weeds from encroaching and strengthen grass blades all while looking green and healthy.
Fast Release Fertilizers
More popular years ago, these fertilizers were developed as agricultural-grade fertilizers for commercial use. With home lawn maintenance, fertilizers were thought to quickly break down and become available to plants. Unfortunately, the excess nitrogen was more than the soil microbes could cope with, and plants burned.
The quick release of nitrogen also leads to uneven growth and a resurgence of difficult weeds. Annual weeds and perennial weeds resistant to burning fertilizer can grow fat on this fertilizer choice.
Summer is the optimal time for broadleaf weed growth, and a fast-release fertilizer treatment can spur them on. Quick-release types are not the ideal fertilizer for summer use.
These additives can be either synthetic or organic, but they break down over several weeks to months providing the grass and the microorganisms exactly what they need when they need it all summer long.
Synthetic slow-release fertilizers are covered in a plastic resin that breaks down slowly when water is applied. These can be applied as a granular product or introduced with a liquid fertilizer formula.
When lawns of summer green grass are made of varieties of turf that don’t need much nitrogen. Low-nitrogen fertilizers are needed for a balanced fertilizer schedule, but too much will harm warm-season grasses.
Most additives applied during the summer should be considered a nitrogen maintenance fertilizer and not needed for active growth.
Nitrogen Rich Fertilizers
Some lawns in the northern climate may see the majority of their grass growth in the warm summers. For weather types outside the basics of lawn fertilizer, add nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the start of summer to build a thick, cool-season turf through the fall and winter.
High nitrogen fertilizer for grass is better suited for the spring at planting time or for winter dormant turf that needs an early boost.
These are best when you need a nitrogen maintenance fertilizer but can’t count on very much rain or external watering.
Liquid fertilizer for grass will be absorbed by the soil easier and doesn’t need to be watered in as thoroughly afterward as granular fertilizers do. It is easy to balance fertilizer usage and water usage when applying a liquid summer fertilizer for grass.
Slow-release products that are granular, general-purpose fertilizers can help build your lawn’s nitrogen levels steadily over time. Unlike liquid products, granular (solid) N-P-K fertilizer pellets can lead to a buildup of fertilizer, causing nitrogen burn when water is scarce.
The amount of rainfall during the summer should be considered when making fertilizer decisions to prevent drought damage to your lawn.
Grass clippings and organic compost with an ample fertilizer component can be used to keep lawns green during the summer. By mowing lawns frequently but cutting them high, you can supply your lawn with a steady supply of organic materials. This little bit of fertilizer may be all that is needed to keep your lawn green. Do not do this if your turf is prone to thatch.
Generally salt-based, these can be either fast or slow-release products. Liquid products or granular fertilizer loads can be synthetic as well. While typically, these fertilizers contain exactly what plants need, there can be some issues with nutrient absorption in unbalanced soil conditions.
Often these fertilizers need to be combined with pre-emergent weed control for broadleaf weed controls due to increased germination of weed seeds when applied in the summer.
Best June and July Fertilizers
June to August is when the summer heat is most noticeable in lawns. Knowing that your lush turf could use a little help, you want to apply the best turf builder you can find.
Using products that slowly add additional nutrients to the soil can help with deeper root growth during the hot, dry months. Check out these products for green continuous growth all year long.
|Scotts Summer Lawn Food||Uses less water||Apply to a dry lawn, then water thoroughly to activate|
|Milorganite||No need to water at the time of application||Spread it on the lawn and let break down over time or once the next rain occurs|
|Polyon||Customizability||Get the exact formula you need for your lawn type and climate|
|Advanced Lawn Liquid Fertilizer||Easy application||Water after liquid fertilizer has dried|
Scotts Summer Lawn Food
A great summer fertilizer choice, it has a built-in insecticide to fight common hot-weather lawn pests.
Because of its special formula, Scotts Summer Lawn Food breaks down much faster and with less water than other granular fertilizers. Spread this fertilizer over your lawn anytime from June to August when the grass is dry. After an even application over the entire turf, water thoroughly to activate the product.
The best way to apply Milorganite is to follow the holiday schedule. For summer application, that means July 4th for cool-season grasses and Memorial Day for warm-season turfs.
Milogranite can be applied to the lawn any time of year and sits until the soil conditions and temperature is optimal for microbe activity. To speed up the effects, you can water anytime after broadcasting.
A comprehensive, efficient, and reliable fertilizer, Polyon pellets break down in your lawn over the course of the entire summer.
Composed of a range of organic materials that break down throughout the entire year, Polyon is an effective solution to keep lawns as green as can be. Apply Polyon over a dry lawn and water it for consistent feeding during the whole summer.
Advanced Lawn Food Natural Liquid Fertilizer
An easy-to-apply fertilizer for grass, simply spray evenly across the entire lawn and let it dry; after it is completely dry, you can water it thoroughly or wait until the next rain storm to help the soil absorb all of the nutrients available.
Advanced Lawn Food Liquid Fertilizer has all the nutrients plants need to stay green all summer long and is easily applied and absorbable for microbe and deep root growth.
How to Safely Apply Fertilize in the Summer?
Applying fertilizer during the summer can be difficult. The high temperatures, lack of rain, local water restrictions, vacations, and heavy usage all can spell a disaster for an unprepared lawn. Luckily there are plenty of steps ahead of summer you can take to safely apply fertilizer during the warmer months.
The fertilizer application should always be combined with proper lawn care techniques, and one of the best ways to care for your lawn effectively is to start early. Before the lawn has experienced drought or heat stress, begin preparing it for summer. Weeds, dead patches, and pests can will all be starting to become noticeable around the end of Spring.
Hopefully, a healthy application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer was applied early in the year, and your lawn is lush and healthy. Now is a good time to investigate any uneven growth and adjust water systems. You can also apply pre-emergent weed control for annual weeds, perennial weeds, and especially for the control of broadleaf weeds.
Cut Low (With Caution)
Before the summer comes, mow the grass
the lowest your turf type allows. For most summer grasses, that will not be much lower than 3 inches. Cutting the grass low helps promote new root growth and adds organic matter to the soil. Cutting low can help you discover any uneven growth or dead spots that need attention, as well as nasty pests and invasive weeds.
If you have warm-season grass that is prone to the buildup of organic materials, you will want to collect the grass clippings rather than let them drop. If you have cool-season grass that has gaps and needs additional nutrients and protection from sun exposure and erosion, then leave the clippings where they fall.
Cutting low can also control broadleaf weeds and stop them from out-competing your turf in the early summer months.
A build-up of dead grass and other organic matter can prevent water and fertilizer from reaching your soil and plant roots. Eventually, this can cause your turf to suffer, turn yellow, and possibly die. To prevent that, you will need to dethatch and aerate.
After your lawn is dethatched and the soil is exposed, you can aerate the soil. Aeration provides avenues for water and fertilizer to reach plant roots and helps oxygenate the soil and microbes. Doing this in the spring before summer fertilizing can help prepare your turf to receive all the nutrients you provide.
Apply Fertilizer Evenly
Following the label instructions, granular or liquid slow-release fertilizer can be added to a lawn to increase summer productivity. Cover the entire lawn evenly with the appropriate application amount of fertilizer to prevent uneven growth and other improper fertilizing issues.
Once the fertilizer has been spread or sprayed, you will either water it right away or wait until it dries to activate the products. As the fertilizer seeps into the soil, bacteria, and microbes will work to break down the slow-release components and get the correct minerals to your plant’s roots. Over time the essential nutrients will eliminate any nutrient deficiencies found in your yard and promote healthy green lawns.
For summer fertilizer to work, a lawn needs frequent watering. High applications of fertilizer without adequate dilution will burn grass and cause serious discoloration. Avoid these problems by watering the correct amount at the right times for your turf and climate.
Most granular fertilizers need to be watered in right away for them to activate. The sooner moisture builds on the casing, the sooner the nutrients are released and become part of the soil. Liquid fertilizer can be left to dry to give the nutrients a chance to bind with the soil and prevent erosion from excessive water. Once the fertilizer has dried, water at least 1 inch a week, frequently and shallowly, to keep the grass hydrated.
Resow Dead Patches
As summer progresses, certain sections of your lawn may die. Whether due to pests, weeds, damage from use, or negligence, parts of your turf may turn brown and die. If you remove these dead sections and immediately resow, you can prevent the dead grass from causing other problems and restore your green lawn before winter dormancy.
Over-sow the bare areas with new grass seeds and water daily after sowing. Make sure to cover the grass seed loosely with straw to protect it from sun exposure and pest damage. Make sure to check with local water ordinances to verify that you can water daily before attempting to sow seeds, as the new sprouts won’t survive strict water rationing. Uncover new grass when the temperatures drop in the fall.