As if the general heat that surrounds us during hot summer months isn’t enough, with today’s global warming contributes to extreme heat conditions that are harsh on our lawns. Maintaining a lush lawn can be a chore during long heat waves – even more so if there are restrictions in your locale for how frequently you can water your lawn. Here are some of our best tips for keeping your lawn lush and healthy during a heat wave.
Mowing in Heat
Whether the hot weather is typical for your region or you are in the throes of extreme heat, there are several things you should keep in mind in order to maintain a healthy, intact lawn.
Don’t Cut Your Grass too Short
One of the most common mistakes made by homeowners and landscapers in lawn care is cutting grass too short. When a lawn is cut too short, it interferes with the grass’ ability to generate energy sufficient for growth. On the flip side, if grass is cut at the proper height, the roots are able to strengthen to support a more vigorous lawn that tolerates stress better. It is important to know that some types of grass have different growth habitats and their ideal mowing height should be taken into consideration, such as cool-season grass and warm-season grass types. 3 to 4 inches is a good height to keep your lawn during a heatwave.
Employ the One-Third Rule
Remember the one-third rule when trying to decide the proper height for mowing your grass. The one-third rule states that you never remove over one-third of the grass height at a time. This helps the lawn to stay cooler while removing less of the plant tissue. If an area of lawn is exceptionally high and you want to reduce its height by more than 1/3 of its current height, begin by mowing 1/3 and allow the grass to recover from mowing for a couple of days, then mow again.
Don’t Mow Grass in Drought
If your area is in drought, avoid mowing the lawn. Lawns often undergo much stress during drought and have a hard time recovering from mowing. This can contribute to further damage to your grass. Rather, mow after irrigation day or a rainfall. But also remember to avoid mowing wet grass to keep clumping at bay.
Sharpen Mower Blades
When a lawn is cut with sharp mower blades, healing takes place much faster. Dull blades actually tear the fibers and tissues in a plant rather than cutting it, which leads to more lawn damage and stress as well as disease risk.
Watering Your Lawn in a Heat Wave
Some people erroneously believe that the best way to maintain a lawn in extreme heat is to overwater. Remember that turfgrasses are better managed when they are dry as opposed to wet. If the soil is always wet, it can lead to many problems for plants and organisms within the soil. The roots in the grass will become oxygen-deprived and develop a higher risk of disease. Keep these tips in mind when watering your lawn.
The best time to water your lawn is before 10 am. Cooler temperatures and subtle breezes help to keep evaporation slowed down. Early morning watering is also recommended as watering your lawn during hot parts of the day can add stress to your grass.
Water enough to wet the roots and don’t water again until the grass has dried. You can eye it to determine if it is time to water again. If the grass looks dry, water it.
Don’t Water Daily
Lawns only need about one inch of water per week – so don’t water your lawn daily. That one inch of water includes rainfall!
Consider a Rain Barrel and/or Drip Irrigation
A rain barrel is an especially good idea for areas that prohibit the amount of local water supply you can apply to your lawn. You can then water with a bucket by hand or attach an irrigation system from there.
Drip irrigation systems are popular for lawns susceptible to hot summer conditions. This is often performed with a soaker hose that features holes down the length. When the hose is laid on the ground, it delivers water to the soil directly, keeping leaves dry and encouraging proper evaporation.