Maintained lawn in Toronto.

Summer-Ready Lawns: Transitioning Your Toronto Yard From Spring to Summer

The warm and humid months are here, and the high temperatures will affect your turf in various ways. Get your Toronto lawn ready for summer with the tips in this article.

Preparing Your Lawn for Summer

It is getting hotter in Toronto, and you might wonder, “When should I start preparing my lawn for summer?

Lawn preparations for the hot season can begin during early spring when you are rebuilding the foundation of your turf for the entire year. Weeding, feeding, doing a soil test, applying herbicide, removing pests, and relieving compacted soil are all early spring activities that help prime your lawn for summer.

Aerate Your Lawn

Aeration before summer is best for warm-season grasses. For cool-season grasses, you may want to wait until fall.

Aeration, or poking tiny holes in the ground, benefits your turf in many ways. It encourages healthy development of the grass root system. It helps the grass breathe better. It also improves the efficiency of oxygen, water, and nutrients reaching the root system.

You may aerate lawns once a year, but areas that receive heavy traffic and are unusually compacted might need aeration more often.

Dethatch

Late spring is also the best time to dethatch lawns. Dethatching is the process of removing thatch, an accumulated mixture of dead and living plant material at the base of the grass plant. Thick thatch restricts the flow of nutrients that the grass needs. If the thatch is only 1/2-inch thick, you may skip dethatching because it benefits the grass.

Mow Appropriately

Keep your lawn well-groomed by mowing it three inches tall and bagging the clippings. Try to use a distinct pattern each time. Regular springtime mowing will help to fortify the root system and make the turf more robust. Mow once per week, every week from May 1st until it stops growing in the fall. Set your mower to cut at between 7cm and 8cm tall — this will allow the grass to grow longer and better shade the soil, retaining moisture. Additionally, it prevents mosquitoes from taking shelter in your lawn.

Overseed

You can overseed to fill in any gaps. Before putting in the seeds, break up the exposed surface soil with a rake and level the surface a little. Then, gently rake the surface to integrate the seeds.

Proper Watering Practices in Hot Weather

Watering your yard properly is a necessary lawn care practice in Toronto. It helps keep your lawn healthy and strong enough to withstand the stress and damage caused by summer’s high temperature.

When choosing a watering schedule, consider both quantity and frequency. Reduce water waste and improve the health of your lawn by using smart watering strategies that guarantee effective and sufficient hydration.

Water your lawn once per week for four hours in each zone from May 1st until September 1st. This helps your grass establish deeper roots, increasing its heat and drought resistance. This approach also helps prevent overwatering, which can damage your lawn as excess water pushes the vital oxygen underneath your soil.

In terms of schedule, early morning is the optimal time to water your lawn. It is not warm enough for water to evaporate immediately, so moisture can seep further down into the soil and reach the roots.

The next best time to water is late afternoon since there will still be a time window for the water to soak in and dry before the sun comes out the next day. However, watering your grass late at night isn’t a good idea because the overnight residual moisture could promote fungus growth.

Consider using watering tools, too. They will make your job easier and your lawn happier. Automatic irrigation systems with low-level sprinklers deliver water efficiently and on a predetermined schedule. If you have a small to medium-sized lawn, affordable and easy-to-use hose-end sprinklers may suffice.

Fertilization Strategies for Summer

Fertilization is another critical aspect of Toronto lawn care. However, summer isn’t the best season to fertilize your lawn because grass under heat and drought stress will not respond well to fertilization. Fertilizers may also chemically burn your lawn due to heat. Meanwhile, the excess salt near plant roots may damage the grass.

It’s usually preferable to wait to fertilize your lawn until the moisture has returned and the grass is actively growing. Next fall may be the best time to fertilize.

Nonetheless, you can still apply fertilizers during summer. Summertime brings a decline in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the soil. Adding a quality fertilizer helps restore the balance of nutrients in your lawn. Fertilizing your lawn in summer also ensures the grass gets enough nutrients for springtime growth.

However, you must time the application properly. Apply fertilizer in the early summer if the second application wasn’t done in late spring. Meanwhile, if the primary application was not done in the fall, apply fertilizer in the late summer. If the soil is dry, water it before and after adding fertilizer. Be careful not to wash granular fertilizer onto streets, driveways, and sidewalks.

If a plant shows signs of nutrient stress and requires nutrients immediately, liquid fertilizer is a good choice. Alternatively, slow-release fertilizers gradually release nutrients in tiny doses and dissolve when watered.

Tips for a Lush and Healthy Summer Lawn

Once summer is here, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your lawn care to maintain a healthy and lush yard. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Grass growth slows down as the heat intensifies in the summer, so do not cut your lawn too short. Proper height gives the grass insulation from summer heat and prevents water loss in the soil.
  • Bag the clippings because you can use them as organic fertilizer.
  • Keep your lawnmower blade sharp because you want a clean cut, not a tear.
  • Water your lawn thoroughly and at optimal times of the day to foster root growth and prevent evaporation.
  • Use shade-tolerant grass for sections of your lawn that don’t get six hours or more of direct sunlight during the day.
  • Consider sowing grasses capable of withstanding prolonged shade, like creeping red or fine fescue.
  • Don’t forget to control weeds before summer. Hot weather makes some weed killers less effective. Consider natural weed killers to protect the grass from the side effects of synthetic herbicides.
  • You can either start and stick to a watering schedule if your lawn has turned brown, or you can let the grass go dormant until fall. When grass is dormant, it can survive for several weeks. However, it will suffer harm if you attempt to bring it back to life by watering it and then allowing it to go dormant once more.
  • Get ready for drought. Nobody likes drought, but it’s better to be prepared for it. Some things you can do are installing an irrigation system and choosing a drought-resistant plant variety.

Prepare Your Lawn for Summer With LawnMart

You can also take advantage of lawn care services in Toronto to help smoothly transition your yard from spring to summertime. At LawnMart, we employ an organic, tried-and-tested six-step method to ensure that your lawn is in tip-top shape not just this summer but throughout the year.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you prepare your lawn for summer.