PJC’s Early Summer Organic Turf Care Tips
Sean Breckin, AOLCP

The end of the Spring season is nearing, and we want to remind you of the best ways to perform during the hardest parts of the season. Take ten of PJC’s early summer organic turf care tips. Set you up for high performance turf grass all summer long!

Organic Turf Care Tips: Early Summer

  1.       Follow PJC’s Organic Turf Care Program

    (for Landscapers or for Schools & Municipalities). We have new program offerings from 20 years of tried-and-true practical experience. For year-round success, take a look at our tips for each season: Fall, Winter, Spring

  2.       CHARGE Your Turf:

    PJC’s ProHealthy Turf Charge-S3 is the perfect product to build precious soil organic matter between spring and summer fertilizer applications. We often recommend spreading it as part of an aeration and overseed schedule, but it should be granted high priority for any lawn. Our “Organic Matter Matters” blog provides a deep dive on why organic matter is so critical growing turf grass. This is especially important for water holding capacity with summer heat around the corner.

  3.       Organic Pest Management:

    Summer evenings in New England are delightful, but pesky mosquitos can really be a drag when enjoying your evening cocktails. Apply Mosquito Cure monthly to help mitigate these biting pests and establish a strong perimeter to keep your customers happy. Ticks are a major issue for humans and pets alike, cedar oil is a proven repellant of ticks and a great way to organically manage ticks. Lastly, chinch bugs can be a major pest for summer lawns – causing them to wilt to be unsightly during prime outdoor season. You can combine all three of these products into one application to remain efficient and effective against outdoor pests. Organic pest management is a great addition to organic landscape programs as it keeps your employees busy and clients happy.

  4.       “Mow High – May, June and July”

    We prepped you on this topic in our previous blog, but it’s time to put it into practice. Mowing turf grass short, especially when irrigation is not available, puts a lot of stress on turf plants. Unpredictable summer weather is best combated with happy turf plants that are tall and lush – giving them the best ability to grow throughout the summer. Set your mower decks to 3-4” for best results.

  5.       Water Deeply and Infrequently:

    Last season, PJC adopted the simplified 1-2-3-2-1 Watering Method to help you dial in irrigation schedules for optimized deep root watering throughout the season. Building resilient turf takes a combination of proper fertility and cultural practices. Watering is perhaps the most important during summer, and doing it 2-3x per week is your best chance for success.

  6.       Early Summer Aeration and Overseed:

    While spring aerations can be debated due to bringing undesired weed seeds to the surface, there can be a lot of value in an early summer aeration and overseed. Many summer weeds present themselves due to compaction. Accordingly, aeration is our best approach to relieving soil compaction mechanically and presents the best opportunity to overseed. If you have an irrigated lawn, you can start establishing a durable seed variety like turf type tall fescue, to keep your lawn green and competing against weeds all summer. PJC does not recommend overseeding in the early summer on non-irrigated lawns, as summer drought can kill off newly establishing turf seeds.

  7.       Fertilize Your Turf:

    Summer stress is inevitable and the best nutrient to battle stress is potassium of the (K) on fertilizer product labels. Similarly to fall fertilizer applications (preparing for winter), potassium is the nutrient responsible for the overall health of the turf plant – especially giving it the ability to withstand drought. Potassium improves turf vigor, giving plant cells the capacity to fight drought stress by retaining water and improving water carrying capacity. Additionally, potassium is critical to root structure, plant cell wall structure and disease resistance – all of which can be under stress during summer months. Be sure to use PJC ProHealthy Turf 6-0-6 or 8-0-6 for early summer apps to provide readily available potassium for your lawn or athletic field.

  8.   Scout for Weeds:

    The next wave of weeds are germinating. The most likely weed to start emerging in early summer is crabgrass. If you’ve done a good job this spring managing weeds, then you’ve already dramatically impacted pressure for the summer. So, scout for areas of pressure and get to work on pulling them manually when possible and identifying “why the weed is here” to help educate your client when inevitable questions pop up.

  9.   Repair Trouble Spots:

    Lawn maintenance takes a lot of work, which is why staying on top of trouble spots is so important. If you maintain athletic fields, look to make repairs around goal mouths or faceoff circles before summer heat sets in. When on a home lawn, identify low spots or high traffic spots that could be quickly leveled and give your client the consistent look they want for enjoying their yard all summer. A good way to manage this is pre-blending seed with a 60/40 loam/compost and having a bulk container on your trailer so you have the repair blend available throughout the day. Don’t make these repairs harder than they need to be. A little bit of extra work goes a long way with customer satisfaction.

  10. Maintain your Equipment: Spring growth and mowing frequency takes a toll on your machines. Take advantage of a rainy day and sharpen your blades to ensure a nice clean cut throughout the summer – or swap your blades for new ones and sharpen the dulled ones for your late summer swap. Add stringline to your trimmers so you have less chance of needing to do this on a client’s site. Be sure to stay on top of equipment maintenance to keep your team focused on a clients landscape and not fussing with equipment when in the field.

PJC’s early summer organic turf care tips will help you weather the summer heat ahead. Set your programs up for success and reach out if you want PJC’s guidance doing so.