Maintain your summer lawn

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

By Mariah Brock – LSU AgCenter

The temperature is rising, and your lawn is feeling the heat. Summer maintenance is key to your lawn’s health.

To build a dense, healthy lawn, avoid removing more than the top one-third of the leaf blade when mowing. St. Augustine grass should be mowed to a height of 2.5-3 inches, while centipede grass should be mowed to a height of 1.5-2 inches. Mow every 5-7 days or less frequently during drought conditions.

Use a rain gauge to monitor

weekly rainfall and determine if additional watering is necessary. If it is needed, irrigate in the morning when temperatures are cooler. LSU turf grass graduate student Matthew Turner advises, “For grasses to fully utilize water, irrigation should be conducted in the morning between the hours of 5-9 a.m. This allows the plant to store the water and use it throughout

the heat of the day. Watering in

the morning also helps to reduce disease pressure.” For best results

wet the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches. St. Augustine, centipede and Bermuda grass lawns typically require 1-1.25 inches of water each week.

Scout for insects and signs of disease regularly; both are easier to treat when identified early. Chinch bugs are common this time of year and cause small yellow or dead

spots in the lawn. To determine if chinch bugs are present mix 1-2 tablespoons of lemon dish soap

with a gallon of water. Pour the soapy mixture over a square foot of your lawn and wait. After a few minutes the insects will appear at the lawn’s surface if present. Control measures should be taken if 15 or more chinch bugs are present per square foot.

To request an LSU AgCenter Louisiana Lawns Best Management Practices Guide or for more information contact the St. John Parish LSU AgCenter Extension Office at 985-497-3261 or visit

Mariah Bock is the LSU AgCenter County Agent for St. John Parish. She can be reached by email at