What to Do About Heat and Drought Stress
Summertime is all about enjoying the sunshine and spending time outdoors. However, while you may be relaxing and reducing stress, your lawn may be suffering from the extreme temperatures and dry weather. Heat and drought stress are common conditions that can cause your once-vibrant lawn to dry out and wither. In this article, we will discuss how to diagnose and treat heat and drought stress on your lawn, ensuring its health and vitality even during the hottest months of the year.
Signs of Heat and Drought Stress on Your Lawn
Heat and drought stress occurs when your lawn experiences a significant loss of moisture during consistently hot and dry weather. Identifying the signs of heat and drought stress is crucial to take appropriate action. Here are some common indicators to look out for:
When you walk across a healthy lawn, the grass blades will bounce back within seconds. However, with heat and drought stress, the grass will stay flat instead of recovering, leaving behind ghost footprints. This lack of resilience is a clear indication that your lawn is suffering from moisture loss.
Heat and drought stress can cause the tips or entire blades of grass to become discolored. The grass may turn yellow or brown, signaling its struggle to survive in the harsh conditions. It’s important to note that other turf conditions, such as insect damage and lawn disease, can also result in similar discoloration, so it’s essential to consider other factors before making a diagnosis.
A lack of moisture can lead to soil compaction, making it harder for water to penetrate and reach the roots of your grass. To test for soil compaction, try pushing a screwdriver into the surface of your lawn. If it easily goes in, your soil likely has adequate moisture. However, if you face resistance, your soil requires additional water.
Treating Heat and Drought Stress in Your Lawn
If you suspect that your lawn is suffering from heat and drought stress, there are several steps you can take to help it recover. By following these strategies, you can minimize the impact of hot and dry weather on your turf:
Water Deeply and Frequently
During periods of heat and drought stress, it’s crucial to water your lawn deeply and more frequently than usual. The frequency and duration of watering will depend on your geographical location and the specific conditions of your lawn.
If you live in a northern region of North America, watering your lawn 3 to 4 times a week may be sufficient. However, if you reside in a hotter and drier southern region, watering every other day might be necessary to revive your lawn.
Remember to water your lawn early in the morning, between 5 and 9 am, to take advantage of cooler temperatures and prevent excessive evaporation.
Raise Mowing Height
To help your lawn cope with the summer heat, consider raising the mowing height and avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing session. Allowing the grass to grow a bit longer provides shade and keeps the crowns of the grass plants cooler, promoting healthier growth and color.
Whenever possible, mow your lawn in the morning to minimize stress on the grass and ensure faster recovery. Additionally, maintaining a sharp mower blade will help the grass plants heal quickly and prevent a brown appearance.
Mechanical Core Aeration
In the fall and spring, consider performing mechanical core aeration to alleviate soil compaction. This process involves mechanically removing cores of soil, which encourages the uptake of nutrients and oxygen through a deeper root system.
By relieving soil compaction, you provide your lawn with a better chance of withstanding the summer heat. If you have poor growing conditions, such as clay or sandy soils, regular aeration may be necessary to reduce water runoff and promote a healthier lawn.
Dormancy and Recovery
In severe cases of heat and drought stress, your lawn may go dormant as a natural survival mechanism. During this period, it may turn brown and appear lifeless. However, with the right care and maintenance, your lawn can recover and regain its green color.
If certain areas of your lawn struggle to return to their former health, consider using seed or sod to repair the damage and encourage regrowth.
What To Do If These Measures Do Not Work
If you have implemented the above measures and do not notice any improvement in the health of your lawn, there may be other damaging conditions at play, such as pest activity or disease. t’s important to closely inspect your turf to identify any signs of pests or diseases. For example, if chinchbugs are the culprit, you may see small red insects crawling at the base of the grass blades in the thatch layer.
Alternatively, if grubs are causing the damage, you will be able to roll back the turf like a carpet. If you suspect pest or disease issues, it’s recommended to consult with lawn care professionals who can diagnose the problem accurately and provide appropriate solutions tailored to your specific region and lawn conditions.
Heat and drought stress can take a toll on your lawn, but by being proactive and taking the necessary steps to diagnose and treat these conditions, you can ensure the health and vitality of your turf. By watering deeply and frequently, raising the mowing height, performing mechanical core aeration, and allowing your lawn to go dormant if needed, you can help your lawn withstand the challenges of hot and dry weather. If these measures do not yield the desired results, it’s essential to seek professional assistance to address any underlying pest or disease issues. With proper care and attention, your lawn can thrive even in the hottest summer months. So, don’t let the heat and drought stress get the best of your lawn – take action and keep it lush and green all season long.
Revitalize your stressed lawn with expert care from Eco Lawn Utah! From deep watering techniques to mechanical core aeration, we tailor solutions for your region. Trust us to restore your green oasis. Contact us now for a thriving, resilient lawn!