Ah, summer has finally arrived…swimming in the pool, tanning at the beaches, baseball games, picnics in the park, burgers on the grill… can anything be better than summer? Oh, how we try to forget the other side of summer… the scorching heat waves, hot sleepless nights, inevitable watering bans, our green grass turning brown.
While the heat waves and watering bans maybe inevitable, the effects of these on your grass is within your control. The following is things you can do to reduce the impact of extreme summer heat and watering bans on your lawn.
Maintaining a healthy lawn involves using good maintenance practices throughout the growing season. Proper mowing, fertilizing, irrigation and thatch control provide a dense, healthy, high-quality lawn.
To help your lawn survive the dry heat of summer, follow these tips and guidelines.
Maintain Good Soil:
Aerating your lawn and top dressing it with a layer of rich soil every spring will ensure your grass has good soil to bury its roots in. This is also a god time to spread some new seeds.
A well-balanced fertilizer program is one of the most important factors in maintaining and thick green healthy lawn. The three main nutrients required by lawns are:
- nitrogen – Promotes dark green leaf and blade development resulting in a denser turf.
- phosphorus – Is important in healthy root development and promoting plant maturity.
- potassium – Contributes to the general health of the plant, promoting wear, drought tolerance and winter hardiness.
It is a good idea understand and implement a proper fertilizing schedule. However, if you want a nice lawn but don’t want to time to understand the science, then I suggest you select a packaged product, like Scott’s, and carefully follow their fertilizing program.
If your fertilizing program is not producing the results you want, it may be a good idea to consult a Local Lawn Care Professional who will implement a fertilizing program for you.
To reduce amount of fertilizer in our water system, don’t water heavily after fertilizing. Use light watering to give the fertilizer the opportunity to be absorbed by the soil. Also, hold off
Maintain Good Watering Practices:
Create a watering plan at the beginning of the season. Are you going to water your lawn consistently throughout the summer, or are you going to let it go dormant during hot and dry periods? You need to be consistent because breaking the lawns dormancy drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant and can do more damage than letting your lawn turn brown.
Only water your lawn when it needs watering. Watering your lawn too often and when not needed will result in shallow roots, making your grass more vulnerable during time of drought. Allowing your lawn to experience mild drought stress will help increase the depth of rooting. Your grass will tell you when it requires water: look for foot printing, which is where the grass blades don’t bounce back up after being walked on, leaving afoot prints in the grass. Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress.
When you water your lawn, make sure you water enough but not too much. Deep watering encourages deep roots. Frequent short watering cycles encourage a shallow root system. A good watering is usually 2.5 cm (1 inch) over the whole surface or until the ground is wet to a depth of 15 cm (6 inches). With the exception of newly planted seed, your lawn should not require watering for another 5 to 7 days. Using a sprinkler will help ensure that you are not watering faster than the soil can absorb the water.
Try to only water your lawn early in the morning. Watering early in the morning, before the sun gets too hot, will increase the chance of water reaching the roots. Watering in the hot afternoon sun will result in the water evaporating before it reached the roots and could burn your grass. Watering regularly in the evening increases the possibility of getting fungus on your grass.
Water problem areas by hand. If your lawn has one or two spots that require more water than the rest of the lawn, use a water can or a hose to water only those spots thus avoiding overwatering the rest of the lawn.
Conserve water by ensuring the water is landing on your grass and not the sidewalk, driveway or road.
Cutting Your lawn:
The importance of good mowing practices is often overlooked. Mowing has a major influence on the turf density, uniformity and the lawn’s aesthetic quality.
Cut Frequency and Not too short. Turf can be mowed frequently, provided no more than one-third of the grass blade is removed in a single mowing. Mow as high as possible. Lower mowing produces a shallow root system. Shallow grass roots cannot take up enough water and nutrients, making the lawn susceptible to drought stress.
Clippings. Leave clippings on the lawn. Clippings contain nutrients and water, breakdown rapidly and do not contribute significantly to thatch. Large clumps of clippings should be pick-up to avoid killing small sections of the lawn.
Controlling the weeds:
The best way to control weeds is by growing a thick healthy lawn. Hand weeding if lawn not overrun with weeds. Start early, do not let them go to seed. Try to avoid chemicals, like herbicides, as they are very bad for our environment.