Tackle Outdoor Projects with These Lawn Care Tips for Summer from STIHL

Whether you live in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, or along the Gulf Coast, summer weather can have a major effect when it comes to the health of your yard. From your lawn and trees to shrubs and flowerbeds, summer landscaping can be a breeze with these helpful tips:

Surviving Summer Rain

While spring is typically associated with heavy rainfall, sudden summertime storms can leave your yard just as waterlogged. Here are some tips to help you deal with a deluge of rain:

  • Try to avoid walking on wet or damp grass, as it is likely to damage it. Wait until water levels have completely subsided and you can walk on it without leaving wet footprints.

  • If you want to mow the lawn once it has dried out, set the mower blades to the highest possible cutting height. Do not attempt to mow a wet or saturated lawn as you risk compaction and ruts. And obviously, do not use an electric lawn mower in damp or wet conditions.

  • Lawns that have been very wet will benefit from some serious aeration – either manually using a garden fork or with the help of a powered aerator like the STIHL YARD BOSS®. Moss is also likely to build up in damp conditions.

  • Identify the low areas of your lawn most vulnerable to flooding and work to even out the ground or improve drainage.

Battling Bald Spots

Bald spots in your lawn make it more vulnerable to summer heat. Thick grass will hold moisture better, resulting in a greener lawn with stronger roots that will survive heat and humidity. Here are some ways you can address thinning grass and keep your lawn green this summer:

  • Inspect your lawn for noticeable bare spots. Grass growth can sometimes be spotty on sloped land and undulating areas due to water run-off and puddling.

  • Use premium seed and a topsoil/organic, nutrient-rich compost to help the seed germinate and keep it from being washed away, blown away, or eaten by birds. Dress the bare spots with approximately one inch of compost and then hand spread the seed, covering about 40% of the area. Use a kitchen broom (not a rake) to gently mix the soil and seed together. Fertilizing grass in summer can keep it healthy and growing strong.

  • Water these newly seeded areas twice a day for the first few weeks to ensure the soil stays moist for maximum germination.

  • To prevent bald spots from occurring, mow your lawn at or close to the highest setting on your mower and avoid stepping on your lawn when it is wet. Also avoid stepping on any new or immature grass.

Best Mowing Practices

Mow High

Studies have shown that mowing at a height of at least three inches yields a healthier yard than one mowed at one or two inches.

Mow Often

When you mow your lawn often, you are promoting a lusher, more uniform lawn. How often is enough? That depends on how quickly your grass grows. Ideally, you should remove no more than a third of the grass length with each mowing. This will result in smaller-sized clippings, which act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn.

Mow Differently

Vary your mowing direction each time you mow to keep your grass looking straighter. Change it up each time, moving north to south, east to west, or diagonally to promote straight growth.

Mow Maintenance

After mowing is complete, check your yard for any remaining clumps of grass clippings. Remove these clumps to prevent them from blocking nutrients to your lawn.

Dealing with Drought

Drought can have a major effect on your lawn, killing your grass, trees, and plants. There are a number of ways to tackle the side effects of drought and ensure your lawn stays healthy through any dry spells. STIHL has a number of helpful tips to combat dry conditions and keep your yard green this summer.

View Drought Tips

Working Safely

Summer days are long and hot. When you're outside getting work done, don't forget about personal safety. Here are some basic tips for working safely in the summer heat:

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink water frequently and in small amounts (about 1 pint per hour) rather than large amounts at one time. Drink 3-4 quarts a day during the summer.

  • Don't depend on feeling thirsty to remind you—by the time you feel thirsty, you are already low on fluids.

  • Shop Drinkware

Reduce Sun Exposure

  • Wear tightly woven clothing that blocks out sunlight.

  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to help protect the neck, ears, eyes, face, and scalp.

  • Sunlight is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—your prime working hours—so take time to ensure you are protected.

Protect Yourself from Heat

  • Take frequent water breaks in a shaded or air-conditioned area.

  • Try to avoid excessive lifting, climbing, or digging during peak heat hours. Use additional power equipment as necessary to assist with labor-intensive tasks.

  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion: pale and clammy skin, increased pulse and breathing, dizziness and nausea, and decreased urine output.

  • If you feel you might have heat exhaustion, stop working immediately and rest in a shaded area. Drink small to moderate amounts of water or an electrolyte replacing fluid.