Late-summer lawns need extra TLC, especially those under drought and heat stress. Follow the tips below to keep your lawn as healthy as possible until cooler weather arrives.

  • Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. August is the best time to control grubs because this is when they are small and close to the soil surface. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.
  • Most lawn grasses need a weekly application of about 1” to 1-1/4” of water (either rain or irrigation) per week. On sandy soils, they require more frequent watering — for example, 1/2″ of water every third day.
  • Aerate bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass lawns to improve the movement of water, fertilizer and air into the lawn’s rootzone.
  • Do not aerate or fertilize tall fescue or bluegrass until fall.
  • Every four to six weeks, now through September, apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area for bermudagrass, or 1/2 lb. of nitrogen for zoysiagrass. For St. Augustinegrass, apply 1 lb. of N/1,000 ft2 in July and 1/2 lb. N/1,000 ft2 in August. Do not fertilize St. Augustinegrass after August 31.
  • Mow bermudagrass or zoysiagrass to a 1” to 1-1/2” height; mow centipedegrass to 1” tall; mow St. Augustinegrass to 2-1/2” tall; and mow tall fescue and/or bluegrass to 3-1/2” tall (through summer). For any type of lawn grass, do not remove more than 1/3 of the blades’ height at a time, as doing so can negatively impact root growth and drought tolerance.
  • Practice grass-cycling by leaving the grass clippings from mowing on lawn. Clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer needs. If prolonged rain or other factors delay mowing, and clippings are then too plentiful to leave on the lawn, they can be collected and composted.
  • Apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control weeds on warm-season lawns. However, avoid herbicides on tall fescue or bluegrass at this time, to avoid adding to the stress of summer heat.