Summertime is here, which means you’ve probably already spent some time on yard work after winter’s reprieve. But if you want your outdoor spaces to look beautiful all summer long, you’ll need to keep your efforts up.
Maintaining a beautiful yard can be a tedious task. But it becomes much easier when you have the right knowledge, techniques, and tools to help you succeed. Here are six ways you can triumph over yard work and make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.
1. Invest in the Right Supplies
To win the yard work battle this summer, you need to be armed with the right tools. Every homeowner should have a shovel, rake, lawn mower, and garden hose or watering can at a minimum. But if you really want your yard to shine, stock your garage or tool shed with even more supplies. Pruning shears, fertilizer spreaders, heavy-duty plastic buckets, and a wheelbarrow can help you complete various yard-related tasks in short order.
Don’t forget to invest in clothing that’s durable enough to withstand your most rigorous yard tasks. A quality pair of gardening gloves and durable jeans are a great start. And if you snag some discounted Carhartt, you can save money on work wear sturdy enough to keep scratches and bug bites at bay.
2. Test Your Soil
If you’ve struggled to maintain a lush, healthy, and vibrant lawn, your soil pH might be the problem. The pH of your soil can have a big impact on your lawn’s color, thickness, and overall health. If your soil doesn’t have a good pH range, grass could have trouble with nutrient uptake. You should be able to get a simple at-home soil test from your local home improvement store or nursery. Follow the test directions to find out the pH of your soil.
Alternatively, you can have your local coop extension service perform a soil pH test. Some of these services can also test the availability of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients. Once you get the test results, you can add soil food products to alter the pH of your soil as needed. Most lawns thrive when they have a pH between 6.2 and 7.0.
3. Add Compost
Many people confuse the terms “fertilizer” and “compost.” While there is some overlap between these two types of products, they are not the same thing. The primary difference is that fertilizers immediately deliver certain nutrients to plants. Compost, on the other hand, takes more time to release the nutrients it contains.
Organic matter (i.e., compost) does more than provide nutrients. It also improves soil structure, buffers pH, and boosts water retention. Spreading compost on top of your lawn is called topdressing. It should ideally be done in the spring so you don’t burn your grass in the heat of the sun. But if you didn’t topdress your lawn this spring, you can do it in late fall once the weather cools.
4. Stay on Top of Weeds
Weeds are the bane of any homeowner’s existence. They’re often the first green things to pop up in the spring, and they can quickly overtake your yard if you don’t intervene. The key to keeping weed populations under control is to pull them up consistently all summer long. But when weeds grow among your yard grass, they can be tricky to remove by hand. Crabgrass is particularly bothersome for yards, as it can quickly spread and overtake your lawn.
Try using a dedicated weed-pulling tool to help pull pesky weeds up from the roots. You can also use grass-safe weed-control treatments to kill unwanted lawn invaders. These products will do little good once the weeds have already seeded, though. So it’s best to apply them to young weeds that haven’t scattered their seeds yet.
5. Do Yard Work in the Mornings and Evenings
If you’ve ever done yard work on a sweltering summer day, you know how exhausting it can be. To avoid depleting your energy stores or becoming sunburned, avoid scheduling your yard work sessions for the hottest portion of the day. Instead, head outside in the mornings or evenings when the weather is a bit cooler.
Besides making things more comfortable for you, there may be plant-related benefits to doing yard work in cooler temperatures. For example, mowing at midmorning gives your grass time to rest and heal before the evening dew settles in. Just make sure the morning dew has dried up before you mow so you don’t bruise or tear the grass.
6. Apply Fertilizer Regularly
Applying an organic fertilizer to your lawn can deliver eye-catching results. For best results, fertilize your lawn in early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. Use your soil test to determine what types of amendments you should apply. There isn’t a single one-size-fits-all summer fertilizer that will work perfectly for all lawns.
When fertilizing in the summer, there are things you should do to prevent fertilizer burn. First, choose a slow-release fertilizer that’s recommended specifically for summertime. Next, irrigate your lawn thoroughly after applying the fertilizer. Finally, be accurate when spreading the fertilizer by carefully following the application instructions on the label.
Most homeowners want outdoor spaces that are worthy of their neighbors’ admiration. Without the proper techniques and tools, such a yard may always be just out of reach. But by following the tips in this article, you can make your yard the talk of the town this summer.