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By Michael Fabrizio, Director of Grounds and Golf Maintenance, Daniel Island Club

Image taken from http://charleston.locale.com

Image taken from http://charleston.locale.com

Summer is in full swing so it’s a good time to focus on some seasonal practices that will promote a healthy lawn.

1. Aeriation and Thatch Removal
If your lawn is more than three to five years old, one of these processes may be in order. For thick, soft and puffy lawns, thatch removal is probably needed. For thin grass and hard ground (perhaps due to traffic from children or pets), you might need to aeriate. A lawn care company can take care of both the aerification process and thatch removal, or you can rent the necessary equipment and perform the process yourself.

2. Topdressing
Topdressing your lawn with sand after aerification and dethatching will help your turf in the long term by mixing with your existing soil and organic matter. Sand will help reduce compaction and dilute the organic matter to help air and water better infiltrate through the soil profile.

After completing these processes, an application of a balanced controlled release fertilizer will help your lawn heal and give it controlled growth for the rest of the summer. If a less expensive soluble fertilizer is used, there is a risk of burn, plus there could be an excessive flush of growth that will slow down and not be maintained for the rest of the summer. A balanced controlled release fertilizer such as a 12-4-8 or similar ratio, that has some minor nutrients in it such as Fe, Mn and Mg, will help promote a healthy green color without excessive growth.

3. Irrigation
During the summer, the Lowcountry gets a moderate amount of rain. June through September is the wettest time of the year in the region.

Due to this, I don’t recommend setting your irrigation system to water on a predetermined schedule. With normal rainfall, irrigating 0 – 2 times per week is usually an adequate amount of water. During dry periods, 3 – 4 times per week should be more than adequate.

I can assure you that there is no lawn or landscape on Daniel Island that needs to be watered every day. More often than not, due to our soil conditions, homes with irrigation systems sometimes have more lawn and landscape plant material suffering from excessive moisture instead of not enough moisture.