It’s officially summer my friends, the longest days of the year are right now. And for those of you with warm season turf, this is the time when you can make the most progress in your lawn. That’s right - summer is the VERY best time to get started.
Warm Season Lawns
The warm season grasses: Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, St Augustine and Bahia - they love the long sunny days. These grass types are bread to spread and they need all the sunlight they can get to fuel their growth. Photosynthesis is the process and it’s your job as a lawn owner to give your turf everything it needs to maximize that process.
I talk often about the warm season grass “growth curve” that shows how our grasses do most of their best work in the summer. They do this by pushing rhizomes and stolons out far and wide. The generic term for these are “runners” that take ground. Here is a clip where you can see me pulling up stolons from my St Augustine lawn.
In this video you can see how the stolons spread across big dead spots and filled them in almost completely in just a few short months. All of the warm season grasses spread this way, some more aggressively than others, but they all do. That’s why we call them “self healing” lawns - because dead spots just get filled back in with new rhizomes or stolons.
And it’s a good thing that we have this aggressive turf working for us because the weeds in the south are equipped with the same growth habit! Here you can see green kyllinga (sedge) using rhizomes to creep beneath the St Augustine grass, pushing up and crowding it and competing.
Right now when the days are the longest, this is when the weeds are also packing in sunlight and spreading.
What’s the plan?
First, fuel the turf. I am already going to assume that you have the mowing under control and are following the ⅓ rule as best as you can. I’ll also assume that you have taken the tuna can challenge and have your watering dialed in.
So the fuel you need is nitrogen. Nitrogen drives the bus. It’s also what gives your lawn that beautiful green color that turns heads! If you have the program and calendar from the Yard Mastery app (FREE) then it will be recommending 24-0-6 Flagship during these months. I often get asked “will fertilizing the lawn in the heat burn it?”
To answer that I made a very straightforward video that illustrates "Can You Fertilize Your Lawn In The Summer?"
24-0-6 Flagship DIY Lawn Fertilizer will give your lawn enough nitrogen to turn it nice and green without surge growth. 50% of the nitrogen is slow release and it also contains chelated and water soluble iron for a deeper darker blue-green color. You will not find chelated iron in any fertilizer at the store.
For weeds, Celsius Herbicide is the go-to weed control for summer for all warm season grasses (just not bahia you can use Image for Southern Lawns).
If you can stay on top of the watering and mowing, plus keep the lawn fertilized (fueled) while spot spraying weeds all summer, you will see excellent results with your lawn. I often see in our Lawn Care FaceBook group that someone in Florida or Texas “installed new sod 2 years ago and now it’s just all weeds and dead patches again.”
In every case, they were missing one or two (or all) of these important elements during the season. Either they let it go without water too long, or they scalped it too low with the mower too many times, or they didn’t feed it (starved it) or they didn’t kill weeds and the competition was too great and the grass could not survive. Sometimes, they have missed all of these tasks.
Today is the first day of summer, it’s not too late for you and in fact, it’s the perfect time to get things going for your warm season turf. All of the links in this blog post lead to videos that teach you about each concept. These are the basics.