Now that it is August we have officially entered the “dog days” of the summer. This is usually the time when your lawn begins to suffer the hot dry heat which can actually burn it, making it look dried out and brown. This article from Gertens, gives you a few tips on how to maintain your grass for as long as you can during this hot, dry time of year.
How to Keep Your Lawn Green in Hot, Dry Weather
Water your lawn in the morning when it is cool to allow more water to soak into the ground rather than evaporate. A significant amount of water is lost by people watering in the hot afternoon. Avoid watering in the evening to prevent fungus and disease. Make sure you have functional and easy to use watering equipment to make the process fool-proof.
Newly sprouted grass can be protected with a thin layer of mulching straw. One or two bales will cover 1,000 square feet. The straw can be removed about three weeks after germination.
A layer of grass clippings kept on the lawn retains soil moisture and fertilizes the grass. Make sure not to leave too much though or you will have problems with excessive thatch. Mulching lawns with clippings works best if the grass has been mowed regularly and not allowed to grow too long. Clippings that are wet or long tend to become soggy clumps that eventually smother the grass beneath them and can cause disease.
Keep the Grass Longer in Summer
A lawn is comprised of millions of individual grass plants. Grass, just like other plants, has a crown from which new growth emerges. If you keep the lawn longer in the summer, the blades shade the crown and protect it from burning.
Different grasses for Different Climates
Keep in mind that there are cool-season and warm-season grasses. Cool-season grasses thrive in northern areas, including Canada, and in higher elevations further south. Their main growth is in spring and fall when the soil temperatures are 50 to 65 F, and the air temperature is 60 to 75 F. Come high summer, they usually go dormant unless they are watered regularly. Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, ryegrass and fescues are examples of cool-season grasses.
Warm-season grasses grow best in southern regions and rev up their growth along with the increasing heat of summer. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia, grow strongly when soil temperatures are between 70 and 90 F and the air reaches a balmy 80 to 95 F. They go dormant when the weather gets cooler.
Your choice depends on the region in which you live and when you want your grass to look its best. If you don’t care if your lawn takes longer to