Top Maintenance Do’s and Don’ts For Your Best Summer Lawn and Garden


It has definitely been a wet spring, but don’t let that fool you. June is here, and while weather predictions for Western Washington don’t expect heat waves like last year, this summer is still forecasted to be hot and dry. If May’s rain kept you indoors, don’t worry that you missed the deadline for preventative lawn care practices or planting beautiful summer blooms. There is still plenty of time to kick both your lawn and garden into gear. Here are the top garden and yard maintenance tips to combat this year’s summer weather and keep your lawn and garden at your Thurston County home looking as lush as ever.

Top Do’s and Don’ts Lawn Care Tips For June

Do: Mow high.

Rule number one for summer lawn care: adjust your mower. Leaving grass taller during warmer months reduces water evaporation from your lawn, helps roots grow deeper, shades the soil and can even prevent weeds. Adjusting the timing between your mows can also ensure you never remove more of the lawn surface than needed.

Don’t: Remove clippings after mowing.

Once the clippings break down, they feed vital nutrients to your lawn.

Do: Fertilizer, fertilize, fertilize.

Early summer fertilization is one of the best ways to keep your grass healthy for the dry months ahead. During summer, grass experiences higher amounts of stress and fertilizing can help with that. Fertilizing during June can also help your grass resiliency against both heat and drought.

Don’t: Over fertilize too late in the season.

Once temperatures rise, fertilizers can do more damage to your summer lawn than good.

Do: Determine if you have warm-season or cold-season grass. summer-gardening-washington

Warm-season grasses grow best in early summer or in temperatures around 70 degrees. Cool-season grasses grow best in temperatures as low as 60 degrees. If you do have cold-season grass, which is common to Washington state, lawn growth will most likely decrease or even become dormant.  To learn more about the best fertilizers for June, click here.

Don’t: Apply weed killer to cool-season grass.

While this will prevent weeds from coming in, it will also stop your seeds from sprouting new grass altogether.

Do: Intermittently water.

This one may seem obvious, but proper watering is crucial to lawn care during summer at your Thurston County home. The trick is to water your lawn intermittently, but deeply. This article states about 1 to 1.5 inches of water every other day should suffice for a healthy summer lawn. Be sure your sprinklers cover the entirety of your lawn evenly, otherwise drought may occur.

Don’t: Forget to take into account rainfall and irrigation levels when deciding your water amount.

Now that we have some of the basic summer lawn care tips out of the way, it’s time to dive into the best ways to care for your garden. You may be asking yourself, “What are the best flowers to plant in June?” or “What are the best ways to care for my garden?”

If so, you’re in luck! There are plenty of heat-loving, colorful flowers like zinnias, periwinkles and moss rose just waiting to be planted and reach bloom in early summer. Tip: Cape Myrtle trees are also just beginning their bloom cycle in summer, meaning now is the time to choose the color you want and get them planted for next year!

summer-flowersDo’s and Don’ts For Your Greatest Washington Summer Garden Yet

Do: Regularly water.

The number one cause of death among plants and flowers is insufficient water. Unlike your summer lawn maintenance, watering your flower bed is more of an art than a schedule. It’s important to fully saturate the roots, then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Just remember, if you’ve received rain recently, be sure to skip a day or two as to avoid any fungal or bacterial growth.

Don’t: Water your plants too late in the day.

June flowers should receive their hydration in the morning before the sun becomes hot to prevent burning, typically by 10 a.m.

Do: Prune.

Take time to begin pruning that flower bed before June. This counts for shrubs and trees as well. By deadheading all your annual flowers you’ll be able to expect fresh and bright blooms in your Thurston County home all summer long.

Don’t: Skip pruning above a node.

By not pruning your garden plants above their nodes, you risk the possibility of “dieback.” It’s a common disease that begins at the tip of the bud and travels downward. Unless treated, plants do not typically survive dieback.

Do: Protect against bugs.

Monitoring your summer garden is a great way to catch damaging insects like aphids, caterpillars and cutworms before they overpopulate. Check leaves and stems for any discoloration or holes, and if you do happen upon an unwelcomed intruder, kindly remove it to another area of the yard.

Don’t: Insecticide your entire garden.

Not all bugs are “bad” bugs for your plants. Resist spraying your entire flower bed with insecticides as this can harm happy pollinators like bumblebees and butterflies.

Do: Embrace color and size.

Bring your summer garden to life by attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators! Plant colorful flowers of varying heights and sizes. This will attract a wide range of pollinators that will benefit your Thurston County home’s garden. It’s also helpful to provide small areas of drinking water for pollinators to rest and take a sip.

Don’t: Forget about shoulder room.

Try to be mindful about placing drinking fountains or feeders too close to one another. Some pollinators are territorial and need plenty of room to rest or stretch their wings, so to speak.

Do’s And Don’ts For The Perfect Vegetable Garden At Your Thurston County Homejune-gardening-washington

Want more tips for the perfect Thurston County home summer lawn and garden? Take advantage of the warm summer weather and start that veggie garden! If you happened to have braved the rainy spring and got your garden in early this year, now is the time to thin your vegetables to prevent any struggling between plants. For those of us just getting started, Bark and Garden in Olympia assures us there are a variety of vegetables that thrive when planted in early summer.

Do: Plant veggies that love the PNW.

Plant vegetables that love the unpredictability of the Pacific Northwest. First on the list are tomatoes, specifically cherry tomatoes, which ripen even in the long Washington summer stretches of sun but can also withstand the rainy climate.

Peppers are also a contender. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the peppers should be small and eaten green as there is not enough warmth for a fully ripened orange or red pepper.

Another great veggie you might not have expected to love Washington summer weather are beans! Beans love the Pacific Northwest weather, particularly pole or runner beans. If the goal is to harvest beans throughout the entire season, be sure to add a trellis to support these green bean beauties.

Don’t: Overcrowd.

With short but warm summers here in Washington, your plants have a lot of work to do and need all the space they can get to plant their roots deep! Instead of lining your plants up in straight lines like soldiers, consider a diamond pattern so each vegetable is at least 2 inches apart. This will ensure your veggies get plenty of space to breathe and don’t fight over key nutrients.

Do: Compost.

Mix high-quality compost into the soil either before or during planting. This will provide the boosted minerals your plants need to thrive.

Don’t: Forget to fertilize

Your veggie garden will need to be fertilized a few times throughout the summer, usually within three-six weeks after planting to keep plants healthy and happy.

Do’s And Don’t For Mulching At Your Thurston County Home

Lastly, to mulch or not to mulch? Mulch seems to be a power food when it comes to the health of both your lawn and garden. Mulch creates a barrier which helps to maintain soil temperature, preventing plants from drying out too quickly. It also reduces weeds and increases soil nutrition. All in all, mid-June mulching is a fantastic time to start as the soil will have reached optimal temperature for mulch to rest on. When it comes to mulching, here’s what you need to know:

Do: Consider going organic.

Organic mulch such as leaves, hardwood, grass clippings and even compost break down and provide nutrient-rich soil for all your trees and plants. Rubber mulches will simply remain until moved and don’t provide the same level of conditioning that organic mulches do.

Don’t: Go overboard.

With all the advantages of mulch it seems hard to resist the urge of packing it on. However, finding the correct amount of mulch to use for your lawn at your Thurston County home is vital it to work properly. Too much can create too heavy of a barrier for oxygen to get through, thereby suffocating and killing the plants. If unsure how much mulch you should be using, take a look at the Mulch Calculator provided by Home Depot.

Do: Consider your furry friends.

Organic mulches like cocoa or certain food compost materials can prove toxic to dogs and animals. Be sure to do some research so your organic mulch is safe and beneficial to everything (and everyone) in your yard.

Don’t: Go plastic.

Though convenient, landscape plastic and even fabric, can prevent water from seeping into the soil and reaching your trees and shrubs, not only preventing your plants from receiving proper hydration, but also possibly increasing run-off. Weeds are also more prone to grow into landscaping fabric.

If you are looking for a new Thurston County home to tend to the lawn and garden of your dreams, contact us today for information on our available homes by visiting us at RobRiceHomes.Com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!