This past spring the weather was extremely wet and cool and continued well into the summer months. Now that we are in the midst of a hot, dry summer what can we do to help our lawns survive?
We still hear about too many homeowners overwatering their lawns with the assumption that it will make newly planted grass seed grow quicker. Pouring on more water will not make grass seed grow faster if there is a condition present that prevents the seed from germinating. Usually these conditions are cool soil, air temperatures and poor soil conditions. There was a lot of delay in the germination of grass seed this year due to the wet, cool weather. Grass seed will only grow when the conditions are right and too much water can be detrimental. On established lawns, more damage is created by improper watering either with over watering or under watering. The rule of thumb is to provide the lawn with about one inch of water per week from rainfall or irrigation. The exception to this rule is in severe hot, dry weather. We would prefer to have you water two to four times a week depending on how severe the weather is but for longer durations.
We saw sprinkler systems turned on all spring and summer while we experienced generally cool weather and sometimes daily rain showers for 10 to 14 days in a row. Why are these sprinkler systems on? Water is precious and costs a lot of money! It does not rain everyday as a matter-of-fact in the USA; we are not part of the rainforest! Your watering practices from spring through summer will determine how you lawn survives. Watering too much during these months promotes shallow roots and when hot, dry weather comes along your lawn suffers greatly. Did you go on vacation and your lawn turned brown? Did you forget to turn on the sprinkler? If the heat and drought are severe enough, the lawn will go dormant, like a hibernating bear during winter. This is a natural state for the lawn trying to survive. Many areas of your lawn if well-established will come back in the fall when favorable weather returns.
If you have not adjusted your mowing height be sure to raise it to around three inches to give the lawn some relief from the summer heat and drought. This will help it to survive better, develop better root systems and a stronger defense against heat, drought and fungus stress. If you feel you lawn needs a feeding and it’s not too hot and dry, apply an organic lawn fertilizer like our Natural Beauty or Organic Lawn Fertilizer. Organic fertilizers will gently feed the lawn and improve the soil. Traditional fertilizers applied during the hot summer months run the risk of burning the lawn. Do not fertilizer your lawn if temperatures are greater than 85 degrees and with high humidity levels to avoid any potential to burn the grass while it is under heat and drought stress.
Monitor your lawn for insect and grub damage. If grubs are present apply Jonathan Green Grub Control. If you notice ants, fleas, ticks, chinch bugs or other surface insects on the lawn make sure you apply Jonathan Green Lawn Insect Control. Be careful when identifying lawn problems. Oftentimes damage from insects can be confused as drought or fungus and vice versa.
Now is the perfect time to plan your fall lawn program. The early fall is the best time to repair the lawn from summer stress with reseeding and proper fertilization practices before the winter. If re-seeding is necessary, it is best to plant grass seed, like Fall Magic, in early September so you get the full benefit of great weather and next spring to establish deep roots. Decide how you want to fertilize the lawn to help strengthen it and develop a great quality lawn that will survive all winter long. Just remember, too much water is not a good thing!