Summer Stress On Your Lawn

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By A Landscape Professional

Summer is a stressful time for home lawns. High temperatures and lack of moisture can cause even irrigated lawns to go dormant. Adjusting your mowing height is the most important practice to prepare your lawn for hot weather. Mow at heights around three inches or slightly higher.

Lawns maintained at higher heights develop deeper roots and dry out slower than closely mowed turf.  Maintaining your lawn at three inches allows the turf to shade itself and the soil, which aids in drought hardiness and weed prevention.

Most lawns in our area consist of cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. These grasses naturally slow down and may go dormant in the heat of summer.

Decide to water your lawn all summer as needed to keep it green, or let it go dormant. Do not allow your lawn to turn brown and then water it back to a green condition, this depletes energy reserves and stresses the plant. Water deeply and infrequently, apply about 1 to 1 1/2 inches per watering, depending on site conditions, water 2 to 3 times per week, water early in the day if at all possible. Water should soak down into the soil. If you choose to allow your lawn to go dormant, you still need to water, dormant lawns need about 1/2inch-1 inch of water every 2 weeks to keep root and crown tissue alive.

Mid-June to mid-August is the most stressful time for your lawn.  It is all about maintaining the health of your lawn; other lawn care practices, including seeding, thatch control, and applying nitrogen fertilizers should be put on hold.  The period from mid-August through October is ideal for these practices. For now, help your lawn through summers stress with proper mowing and watering practices.

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