Late Summer Lawn Care Guide: Make the Most of the Dog Days

August 23, 2022

In 1976 All American Turf Beauty was the first company in Iowa to offer programmed lawn care. The company founders literally invented and developed the industry in Iowa. Get a beautiful weed-free lawn with our professional lawn care services!

The dog days of summer are upon us, which means hot and humid weather will be the norm until the first autumn breeze sets in. As you and your family are soaking up the last few weeks of summer vacation, doing some late summer lawn care will keep your yard looking lovely until winter.

It should be noted that this late summer lawn care guide is specifically for cool season grasses, which are common in Iowa and other areas of the upper Midwest. If you live in a hotter region, the variety of grasses in your yard are likely warm season grasses and might require different solutions.

If your lawn is in rough shape and you’re not sure where your summer lawn care routine went wrong, All American Turf Beauty can help! We offer a wide variety of lawn care services for homeowners across the state of Iowa, including core aeration, fertilization, lawn maintenance, and irrigation.

Whether you choose to DIY or work with a professional lawn care service, here are the most important things to keep in mind for late summer lawn care.

Lower your mower

late summer lawn care mowing

It’s ok to lower the cutting height of your mower when it is actively growing in the fall– although it’s not absolutely necessary.

At the beginning of summer, it’s recommended to raise your mower to keep your grass about 3” to 3.5” tall. Once September sets in, you can reduce the height to 2.5” to 3” since the cooler temperatures will lead to improved growth for cool season grasses. 

Remember to continue mowing your lawn until it stops growing, which should occur in late October or early November.

Leave your grass clippings

late summer lawn care grass clippings

Instead of collecting your grass clippings after mowing your lawn, leave the clippings behind. The nutrients from the grass clippings are actually beneficial for the soil and the health of your lawn. As the clippings break down, the nutrients are released into the soil and can be reabsorbed by the grass.

However, once leaves start to fall, make it a priority to rake your yard frequently. Allowing leaves to pile up on the grass can suffocate your lawn and lead to a patchy, sparse yard in the springtime.

Aerate your lawn

late summer lawn care lawn areation

In Iowa, early September is the best time to aerate your lawn. Aeration involves removing small plugs of soil from your yard to reduce soil compaction, improve irrigation, and promote better nutrient movement throughout the soil.

Aeration is done using a core aerator, which pulls up and removes plugs of soil about 3” long. Core aerators can be rented from most hardware stores, or you can have a professional lawn services company aerate your lawn for you.

For best results, it’s recommended to aerate your lawn when the soil is moist. Trying to use a core aerator when the soil is too wet can cause the tool to get jammed, whereas a dry lawn can make it more difficult to remove the full length of each soil plug.

After aeration, use a drag mat or rake to break up the soil cores across your lawn.

Take care of weeds

late summer lawn care weeds

Even in the late summer, it’s important to immediately spot-treat any weeds you notice to prevent them from taking over your lawn before the first snowfall. You can choose to pull up weeds by hand or use an herbicide — whichever works best for you.

Overseed your lawn

overseed lawn

The few weeks between late summer and early fall mark the best time in Iowa to overseed your lawn if it’s patchy or thin. Cool season grasses grow rapidly during the dog days of summer, and the cooler temperatures at night help to promote quick plant growth. In addition, several varieties of weeds tend to die off in the cooler weather, so there will be less competition from invasive plants for your new grass seedlings.

Before overseeding, you should mow your lawn to just 2” to 2.5” tall. You want to ensure that the new grass seeds will be able to access the soil easily without getting stuck in the turf canopy.

Once you’ve thoroughly covered your lawn in new grass seed, frequently and lightly water your yard to keep the upper inch of soil moist. After 2 to 3 weeks, your new grass seedlings should be about 1” tall if the soil has been kept consistently moist. At this point, you can reduce waterings and start watering more deeply.

Apply fertilizer

apply fertilizer

Cool season grass varieties should be fertilized about 6 weeks before the estimated date of the first frost. For most low maintenance lawns in Iowa, fertilizer can be highly effective when applied in mid-October to early November. Applying fertilizer before winter will help your lawn look full, healthy, and green come springtime.

Call in the pros

lawn care professional

If your lawn is looking a little worse for wear after the hot summer, it might be worth it to get a professional opinion. All American Turf Beauty offers tailored lawn care programs to get your lawn in top shape and help you maintain a beautiful, healthy yard all year long. Connect with a lawn care professional today to learn more about our affordable and customizable services!

Guarantee of Satisfaction

Our services are guaranteed!

If you are not completely satisfied with an All American Turf Beauty application to your lawn, we will re-apply the application at no additional cost and continue the regular lawn treatment program. Alternately, we will fully refund your cost for the application and cancel any further obligation on your part.

To qualify for the guarantee, you must call All American Turf Beauty within 30 days of application.

Our goal at All American Turf Beauty, Inc. is a simple one:

To provide you with the highest quality products and methods available.

We offer every kind of service that it takes to develop and maintain a beautiful lawn in Iowa based on the climate, soil types, and the varieties of grass that are commonly grown here.

One of the keys to the success of the program is that we provide treatment to lawns approximately every 8 weeks throughout the growing season. This ensures that the grass has fertilizer (food) available throughout the growing season. Dandelions and other Broadleaf weeds are controlled as they germinate thus enabling a weed free lawn, and our Turf Specialist is at the property four to six times per season to address problems as and when they arise.

Another key to our service is our people. The most important person to you in our company is the Turf Specialist assigned to treat your lawn.

We are proud to say that our Turf Specialists are the best trained and most experienced in the lawn care industry.

When you become a customer at All American Turf Beauty, a Turf Specialist is assigned to your account. You will have the same person treating your lawn each time. It is their responsibility to service your lawn, make sure it is receiving the correct applications as scheduled, and to provide you with the best personalized service possible. Their jobs depend on it.

We have several programs to choose from. Your Turf Specialist will recommend the best program that fits the needs of your lawn and your budget.


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