How Can I Give My Lawn a Post-Summer Refresh?

By the time summer is reaching its end, your lawn can look that way too. Factors like foot traffic, dry spells and heavy rainfall can all impact the look and condition of grass and soil. This is why a lawn refresh is typically needed, and should be done at the end of the season. If not cared for, your lawn can be exposed to detrimental health conditions - like soil compaction and disease - which can turn into long-term issues. 
While the variables that cause damage vary from location to location, here are some of the most common types of conditions lawns may experience at the end of the summer and how you can treat them.


For drought-damaged lawns:

The first step in reviving a lawn after a drought is all about rest and replenishment. You should water your lawn deeply a few times a week, and in the early morning hours to help ensure soil and grass roots are absorbing as much water as possible for growth and strength. Fertilizer should also be applied to areas of your lawn that are bare or patchy, as they may need an extra boost of nutrients. Once your lawn shows signs of regrowth and is ready for a mow, make sure you set the mowing height to its highest level. This will help strengthen grass blades and aid the establishment of grass roots. This will also help prevent grass blades from burning and protect soil, increasing moisture retention. When mowing, also alternate patterns each time to prevent soil compaction. If soil compaction currently exists, aerating can be helpful in breaking up soil and allowing water to penetrate.

For flood-damaged lawns:

The occasional rainstorm is usually good for your yard; however, heavy rainfall can do more harm than good, sometimes leading to sitting water that can drown and kill grass and plants. In these circumstances, extreme soil compaction and matted grass can occur and deter lawn growth. Waterlogged lawns can also create an inviting environment for fungi and disease. If flooding is isolated to one or more areas of the lawn, use a water pump like the FLEX Water Pump to help remove excess water, speeding up lawn recovery. Once excess water is removed, allow your lawn to air out and recovery naturally. When your lawn is no longer soggy, use an aerator to relieve lawn of stress from soil compaction. Aerating also creates passageways for oxygen and fertilizer to reach soil quickly and initiate regrowth. Reseeding may be needed.

For thatch buildup:

Even with benefits like insulation, water retention and protection from soil compaction, too much lawn thatch - which is the layer of undecomposed organic matter that rests between grass blades and soil - could take things south for your yard. If your lawn shows signs of thatch that is more than 1/2-inch deep, then you may have a problem. A thick layer of thatch not only creates brown, patchy spots throughout your lawn, it can also act as an unwavering shield to water, nutrients and sunlight from reaching soil and grass roots. To stimulate your yard's root system and create open passages for air, water and fertilizer, use a dethatcher to lift thatch from the surface. During the dethatching process, it's best to start your blade height at surface level, going no deeper than 1/2-inch. However, additional depth may be needed in extreme cases of thatch. You should also dethatch after you've watered your lawn and mowed at a low height to make it easier to lift grass. Once completed, rake and remove scattered grass, and sprinkle lawn sparingly with fertilizer.