Maintaining Your Lawn in Extreme Heat: Here’s What to Do
For Southerners, excessive summer heat rolls around each year as no surprise. If your lawn has warm season turf, then your grass also is prepared to take that excessive 90-degree heat plus some; however, just like you have limits in hot weather, so does your lawn. Here’s what you can do while maintaining your lawn in extreme heat to avoid potential damage.
Watering your lawn
If your first instinct for maintaining your lawn in extreme heat is to water more, than you may need to slow down. Consider these lawn watering principles:
- Water deeply. Apply water to soak roots six to eight inches beneath the surface. Watering the entire root zone rather than just the surface of the turf allows you to water less frequently and promotes healthy grass growth.
- Pay attention to the weather. Check out the Weather Channel or your preferred weather news site to get an idea of the rain forecast. Plan your watering sessions around the weather and do not water during or soon after rainy days.
- Do not overwater. Overwatering can drown your grass! Too much water limits your lawn’s access to oxygen, causing the roots to suffocate. Therefore, you should water deeply and look at the weather before watering!
In a drought: Lawn maintenance during a drought should consider drought-oriented city ordinances, which may limit water use for landscaping needs. Use water sparingly by focusing on high-priority plants, like newly planted trees. Most grass species can survive stress from drought if the soil is properly managed for a healthy root system, meaning you can cut in half the amount of water you ordinarily use for watering.
Additionally, brown grass is not dead. It may look ugly, but for the sake of water conservation, you may need to tolerate a browned lawn. The next time it rains, brown grass will become green again. If you have brown patchy grass, however, your lawn may have become diseased.
Cutting the grass
Maintaining your lawn in extreme heat involves careful mowing, too. Like watering your lawn, you should consider a few principles when mowing the grass:
- Use the One-Third Rule. Cut off only one-third of your grass’s current height. This method shaves off enough blade length to keep the grass cool while also leaving it undamaged.
- Mow in morning. Though we don’t recommend mowing the grass at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning to avoid upsetting your neighbors, we do suggest cutting the grass before the sun can evaporate all that refreshing morning dew. A reasonable morning mowing can limit the stress your grass experiences during a summer day.
- Do not cut too short. Ideally, you should rarely or never cut your grass excessively short. Some grasses can tolerate low cuts, but in most cases, you want to leave a few inches left on the blades. During months of extreme heat, you may want to leave an extra half inch than normal on your cool-season turf.
- Use a sharp mower blade. A dull blade can rip or hit the grass rather than cutting it, leading to excessive damage that may promote infection and lawn disease.
- Do not cut during extreme heat. If mowing during the summer leaves you feeling stressed, imagine what your grass feels! When maintaining your lawn in extreme heat, refrain from mowing until after irrigation day or a rainfall. Your grass will tolerate those mower blades a bit better during that period.
During a drought: Lawn mowing becomes a little trickier in droughts. These cases of extreme heat cause unfortunate stress on grass, and mowing stressed grass can reduce its capacity to recover. Treat drought-affected grass like you would in any other high-heat situations—cut in the early morning if dew is present and after rainfall or irrigation.
Don’t let that Southern summer hamper your beautiful lawn! With careful consideration to effective watering and mowing methods, maintaining your lawn in extreme heat will be simple and worthwhile!
American Power Equipment is proud to serve Mobile and the surrounding area for its power equipment needs. Come see us today on Willis Road in Mobile, or visit us at www.ampoeq.com!