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The Summer Sizzle: How to Beat the Heat Stress

By June 21, 2024No Comments

The South is known for its long, hot summers, and while we love the sunshine, it can wreak havoc on our beloved lawns. Heat stress can turn a lush green carpet into a patchy, discolored mess. But fear not! With a little know-how, you can keep your lawn thriving through the hottest months.

Warm-Season Advantage, But Not Invincible

First, let’s acknowledge that southern lawns typically consist of warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, and St. Augustine. These grasses are built for the heat, unlike their cool-season cousins that struggle in the summer sun. However, even warm-season grasses can succumb to heat stress if they don’t get the TLC they need.

Signs Your Lawn is Feeling the Heat

  • Discoloration: Is your once vibrant green lawn turning brown or yellow, especially at the tips? This is a classic sign of heat stress.
  • Footprints of Doom: Walk across your lawn. If the blades don’t spring back up after your footsteps, it’s a red flag for dehydration.
  • Wilting: Is your lawn looking wilted and lifeless, even after morning dew? That’s a sure sign it needs a good drink.

Combating the Summer Scorch: Your Lawn’s Superpowers

Now that we’ve identified the enemy, let’s equip your lawn for battle! Here are some key strategies:

  • Watering Wisely: Deep and infrequent watering is the key. Aim for ½ – ¾  inch of water every 4-5 days, rather than shallow, daily sprinkles. Early morning watering (think before 10 am) allows moisture to soak in before the sun evaporates it.
  • Mow High, Not Low: Slightly raise your mower height around ½ – 1 inch. This can better shade the soil, keeping it cooler and retaining moisture longer. 
  • Aerate for Deep Breaths: Compacted soil makes it hard for water and air to reach the roots. Aeration helps loosen things up for a healthier lawn. We provide liquid aeration services but mechanical aeration is also beneficial.
  • Sharpen Your Blade: A dull mower blade tears grass, making it more susceptible to heat stress and disease. Keep your blade sharp for clean cuts that promote healthy growth.

Bonus Tip: No irrigation or in drought advisory? Embrace Dormancy

During prolonged heat waves, some warm-season grasses may enter a state of dormancy, turning brown but staying alive underground. This is a natural defense mechanism. Reduce watering slightly and avoid fertilizing during dormancy. Once the heat eases, your lawn will bounce back with proper care.

By following these tips, you can give your southern lawn the fighting chance it needs to survive and even thrive during the scorching summer months. Remember, a healthy lawn not only looks good, but it also helps regulate temperatures around your home and provides a cool, green space to enjoy the outdoors. So, grab your hose or watering can and get ready to combat the heat stress – your lawn will thank you for it!

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