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Summer fertilizing is all about knowing what you’re working with.

Kate Spirgen | June 12, 2014

Fertilizing during the summer could be a good idea or a bad idea, depending on which type of grass you’re dealing with. When the temperature starts to rise, lawns may start to show some wear and lose their lush, but it’s important to treat each grass and climate differently.

“You have to be careful with fertilizing. It depends on what part of the country you’re in,” says Gary LaScalea, president of GoGreen in Plano, Texas. While some warm season grasses like St. Augustine don’t need much help, cool season grasses up north need some additonal nutrients. “When they’re under stress, they need fertility,” he adds.

It’s not just the type of grass you’re dealing with; it’s also your location. For example, the University of California recommends fertilizing warm season grasses in the spring fall in southern California, but suggests applying a slow-release fertilizer to warm season grasses in June for those living in the central valley or north coast. The thing to keep in mind is that grass only needs to be fertilized during its growth period.

GoGreen uses slow-release fertilizer in both liquid and granular forms during the spring and summer months to give their lawns and good foundation to stay happy, healthy and green throughout the harsh Texas summer.

But sometimes, despite a homeowner or lawn care operator’s best efforts, a lawn will turn brown. A broken sprinkler head, a trip out of town or a severe drought can leave a once beautiful lawn looking dead when it’s actually just dormant. But, as always, the plan of action depends on the type of grass. “You can’t fertilize Kentucky bluegrass, for example,” LaScalea says. “But with Bermuda grass, mow it down a notch and fertilize it. Tell them to water it and it will begin to recover.”

The key to summer lawn care is not only knowing not only your grasses, but knowing the requirements for your climate as well. To learn more about your area, check out your local university extension office.

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