Summer Can Really Stress Out Our Lawns

 

 

Summer is a stressful time for our lawns. If we mow too low, water too much or too little, or ignore early signs of pests, our grass could quickly become lackluster or even completely die in small or large patches.  Grass grows great in the spring, but at the same time so do the weeds.

Heat, dry weather, and foot traffic are all factors that could be stressful for our summer lawns.  Weeds and bug are also present during the summer and their impact can be worse when the grass is already stressed. When we walk on well-watered grass, the grass blades spring back. On a dry lawn, the grass stays beaten down, and the grass itself can be damaged. Also, heavy foot traffic on wet soil can lead to soil compaction, which keeps air from getting to grass roots.

 

Mow High

Photo by: Shane Adams

 

Most grass types prefer to be mowed high, so make sure to set the blade at one of the highest settings on the mower. Taller grass grows deeper roots, and deeper roots can reach moisture that’s further down in the soil. We will be surprised what a difference this simple step can make.

Also spread out when we are mowing so we are never removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at a time. Tall blades of grass are able to obtain more light during peak sun hours and, in turn, will use this energy to produce and provide more nutrients to the roots and surrounding soil. A dull mower blade tears grass, creating ragged, brown edges that provide an opening for disease organisms.

Photo by: Bill Smith

Sharpen our mower blade regularly. The rule of thumb is that a sharp blade lasts for 10 hours of mowing. Also, the shredded tips turn brown, making the lawn look dull.  There are certain mowers that do not collect clippings in bags, but rather just cut and allow for the shredded pieces to fall back into the grass and the soil.

These cut blades of grass will be able to supply the soil with an added supply of nutrients as well as additional shade to further along the growth of a healthy lawn. The waste produced by mowing should never be considered waste. The clippings that it produce during mowing should be redistributed across the lawn.

 

Feed Regularly

 

Photo by: Eric Bartholomew

Feeding in the summer will vary based on what type of grass we have in the lawn, but all the of different types need it.  Is it a cool-weather grass or warn-season grass?  If our lawn goes dormant in the heat of the summer hold off on feeding until rain revives it.  Stressed out lawns don’t grow at full speed, so feeding them won’t help much. Instead feed before the hot, dry weather arrives. Once the weather cools down and rain returns, feed again to help our lawn recover quicker.

Warm-season turf grows strongly during summer and needs nutrients.  Within 6-8 weeks of feeding, microbes in the soil have processed most of the nutrients for your lawn to absorb. You need to replenish these nutrients with another feeding. A well-fed lawn grows in thick, crowding out weeds and cooling the soil, which helps it handle the heat.

 

Watering

 

Photo by: ehpien

Hydration is essential to the growth and nutrition of our lawns. The entire landscape surrounding our home needs to have at least an inch of water on a weekly basis. This inch of water can come from rain or from manually doing it ourselves. The main keys to remember when it comes to watering are to water as early as possible as well as not to over-saturate our lawn. Morning, between 6 AM and 10 AM, is the most efficient time to water our lawns. Less is lost to evaporation and our lawn has time to dry off before nightfall. Watering at night will invite disease. Half an inch twice a week or 1 inch a week should keep our lawn refreshed.

 

 

Continue to the next page for more stress factors and tips!

 

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