Keeping Weeds at Bay during Summer

Role of Grass Height & Sprinkler System

By – Mahesh Singh Dangol

The health of our lawn, surprising might it sound for many of us, is greatly determined by the height of the grass and the use of the sprinkler system. This is particularly true to the organic lawn care.

According to our experience, a little attention while mowing the lawn can help prevent summer weeds from being invasive and protect from damages caused by excessive heat, especially during the scorching months of June, July and early August.

No doubt, it is always best to have a well-provisioned sprinkler system in place. In the absence of such a system, it is, however, necessary to maintain the height of the grass at around 4 inches (this could vary a little depending on the type of grass also but generally it is true regarding most types of grasses including “tall fescue” which is predominantly used in Northern Virginia ). Tall grass is a natural protection against weeds and lack of water supply. The grass height is to be maintained long if there is not enough rainfall. Exposure of the lawn to direct sunlight during summer might invite further damage to your lawn and a 4-inch blade mowing practice minimizes the afflictions caused thereupon.

Similarly, it is essential to keep the grass height at least 3 inches during summer (when the heat is scalding and there is no regular precipitation) if there is a well-provisioned sprinkler system in place. We have come to this conclusion through the observation and reporting of our mowing crew in a number of properties over the years.

Here is an example of Lawn A and Lawn B.

We started Lawn A and Lawn B as our organic lawn care program and we follow(ed) the same procedures and applications over the course of time. However, Lawn B has a sprinkler system in place and Lawn A does not. Both lawns are in very good shape during the fall and spring. Our mowing crew maintained lawn height to 3” on both properties during summer (June and July). However, we got minimal summer damage on Lawn B, whereas Lawn A got more damage around the area where it gets most sun during the day. In conclusion, the lawn needs proper irrigation system from summer damage. If there is not better irrigation system then maintaining grass height to at least 4 inches during June and July will save the lawn from summer damage as well as invasion from summer weeds.

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