11 Jun How to Help Your Lawn Beat the Summer Heat
How to Help Your Lawn Beat the Summer Heat
The summer heat can not only be tough on you—it can also be really hard on your lawn. Your lawn will need to be prepared to handle the stress of summer and this requires a little effort to keep it healthy and happy. As a homeowner, you need to be proactive and prepared to combat the diverse forces challenging your lawn throughout the summer. Not all of the action steps are exactly as you might expect.
Proper watering is essential. Without water, all organic material eventually dies. Keeping a maintained and regulated watering schedule will help your lawn get through the tough summer heat. Be sure to water early in the morning to avoid any unnecessary evaporation. Most lawns need about one inch of irrigation per week—either from natural rainfall or from an irrigation system. It is better to water for longer periods of time and less frequently during the summer. Depending on water pressure and the spacing of your sprinkler heads, irrigating 20-25 minutes is usually sufficient per area.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you can absolutely overwater your lawn, even when temperatures are approaching the 90’s and above. If the soil in your yard remains constantly wet, the grass roots are unable to take in a sufficient amount of oxygen leaving them weakened to disease. The rule to remember is water deeply, less frequently and only as needed. Also, keep nighttime watering to a minimum as bugs of all sorts consider a damp environment a welcome mat. For more information, read our Lawn Irrigation Guide.
Proper mowing height is equally crucial. Be sure to cut your lawn at the higher end of the recommended height for your grass. Taller grass allows for roots to grow deeper, resulting in a more drought hardy lawn. Here is a good guide to adhere to:
- cool season grasses prefer being cut at three to five inches in general,
- warm season grasses prefer to be kept at two to three inches in general.
It is important that your mower blade stays sharp. A dull blade that is tearing the grass will the leave the grass susceptible to disease. Visit our blog on How to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blade for more detailed information on this topic. To read more on the best lawn mowing practices, read our Lawn Mowing Guide or visit the various Homeowner Maintenance Guides organized by each growing season on our Care page.
Be sure to give your lawn the nutrients that it needs to combat the summer heat and stressors. Any fertilizer that is nitrogen-rich is not what you or your lawn is looking for as temperatures soar. Why? The nitrogen will promote fresh growth which will not be strong enough to withstand the heat and stresses. Overfeeding your grass means extra energy will be required for it to flourish, further stressing your lawn. That’s a task your lawn doesn’t need or want at this time.
Additionally, the wrong fertilizer in combination with excess sun exposure can easily cause scorched spots in your yard. Instead, consider applying LawnifiTM Recover, a liquid fertilizer specifically designed to give lawns the nutrients they need to survive and flourish during the summer. Two bottles of Recover are included in the Lawnifi Summer Fertilizer Box along with a single bottle of Maintain designed to provide the optimal balance of nutrients as temperatures start to rise. In addition to nitrogen, Lawnifi Recover also delivers micronutrients including soluble manganese, iron, sulfur and carbon, which help your lawn get through the dog days of summer. Its patented Catalyst TechnologyTM maximizes plant uptake and nutrient availability to help improve soil structure and enhance the growth of microbial populations needed to withstand summer stressors. For more information on Lawnifi, read Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer?
Using a layer of topsoil or organic material, such as compost, in areas of your yard that receive a lot of sunlight during the summer helps to maintain soil moisture. You can apply such organic material either just on hot spots or, if feasible, on your entire lawn. To learn more about identifying and managing hot spots, read Eliminating Unattractive Hot Spots in Your Lawn.
A layer of topsoil acts to slow evaporation, which promotes more moisture in your soil and keeps the grass hydrated longer. The applied organic material will eventually work its way into your soil profile and amend/improve the quality of your soil. Learn more in Soil Management for Lawns. Once you’ve applied a layer of topsoil, be sure to lightly rake it in to spread and smooth it out.
The above images demonstrate an EMPIRE Turf® Zoysia lawn with a light layer of topsoil applied to maintain soil moisture. The lawn was mowed at a height of two inches on May 16th, followed by an application of topsoil (photo left). The second photo illustrates what the lawn looks like two weeks later on May 29th. The EMPIRE was allowed to grow out and was mowed again on the “mulch” setting of the mower at 2.5 inches in height. The last image was taken on June 10th. The EMPIRE has received minimal irrigation and is now mowed weekly at 2.5 inches in height on the same “mulch” setting.
Tip: Apply the first bottle of fertilizer in the Lawnifi Summer Fertilizer Box: Maintain. This helps to soak the topsoil and nutrients into your lawn.
Healthier lawns are also best prepared to fight off unwanted pests as well as disease. Following these helpful tips on watering, mowing, fertilization and topsoil applications should give your lawn the best chance to not merely survive, but thrive during the challenging summer months.
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