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Grass in Summer Heat

Good-Looking Grass in the Heat of Summer? These 10 Tips Can Help

Ah, summer. We love summer greenery, but as a pro you know it can be tricky to keep lawns looking good during the heat. Consider these tips for working with the lawn instead of against it.

1. Keep a Cool Head

Fescue and bluegrass grow best in the 60s F. Few North American climate zones sustain these varieties through summer. For heat-resistant landscaping, choose Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, Zoysia, or Centipede.

In the 80s and up, any lawn will feel the stress and lose its springtime vibrancy. It’s normal for cool-season grasses to fade into dormancy now.

2. Banish the Buzz Cut

Avoid lopping off more than a third of the grass height. You’re working against nature when mowing the grass too short to promote deep roots.

Cool-season grass needs substantial tissue (height), so use the highest mower blade setting to keep summertime grass at 3-4 inches. Warm-season grasses can be 2-3 inches in summer.

3. Water It Deep, Then Let It Dry

Grass naturally needs just an inch of rainfall weekly. Soaking-wet sod smothers roots. So water down to the roots then stop. Let the grass dry. Just spot-water areas that dry faster.

Don’t try to revive a dormant lawn with water. It will restore itself when the weather supports it.

4. Water in Early Morning

Give the grass a good soak before the sun beats down and evaporates the moisture. Overdoing it can lead to fungus, so less frequent but deep watering works best. That said, don’t sweat the natural humidity and dew. Nature’s moisture and local fungi limit the chinch bugs!

5. Sharpen Those Blades

Nothing batters grass like a dull blade. And the stress weakens a lawn's capacity to fight disease, while that brown, ragged grass lets disease organisms in. After every 10 mowing hours, sharpen the blades.

6. Hold the Fertilizer

Stop fertilizing a month before summer heat arrives in your area. Any new greenery artificially promoted by extra summer fertilizing will be too tender for hot days.

Note: Organic packaged fertilizers are becoming more common and affordable. They’re easier on your lawn and the environment.

7. Leave the Clippings

A mulching mower can return clippings to the grass to fertilize the ground while decomposing. But do avoid mowing wet grass, which leaves cuttings in clumps.

8. High-Traffic Areas Aren’t Evergreen

Stepping stones can be a great idea for keeping traffic off the grass.

Doing more landscaping with pebbles, sand, or mulch is typically the answer in very hot climates.

9. Get a Grip on Dead Spots

Dig a little. Find out what’s under a dead spot. There could be a slab of cement, overheating a certain spot. If so, pull it out and patch it up.

Dog potty areas should be flushed with water, to dilute the urine.

10. Insects? Work With Them

By declaring war, we remove insects that do more good than the unwanted ones. Normally, earthworms benefit the soil. Most spiders are harmless, yet they eat loads of harmful insects.

All in All...

Knowing and respecting the impact of seasons on plants is important. Not all grass will withstand extreme heat, but steady maintenance can support your greenery most of the year.