Summer is finally here, and with the hot weather comes barbecues, baseball games, outdoor parties and more. While we can turn to comforts like air conditioning, fans, or swimming pools to escape the extreme heat, our turf, shrubs, and plants aren’t so lucky. Prolonged periods of high temperatures can actually cause a lot of damage to our properties if we’re not prepared. With that in mind, it’s important to talk about some steps we can all take to help our lawns and plant life endure the summer sun.
Leave your grass a bit longer
When temperatures rise, opting for a longer grass length can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, when your grass is too short, high temperatures wreak havoc by adding extra stress on the plant itself. Since high levels of stress sap the energy needed for new growth, your grass will instead turn dry and brittle and begin to thin out.
Second, longer grass length means the plant has more time to develop and strengthen its root system. Stronger roots can tolerate the stress of high heat because they’re able to reach down and draw moisture from the soil—even under the most strenuous conditions.
Make a few mower adjustments
When it comes time to mow your lawn, adjust your mower for a longer setting. It’s always good to go by the “one third” rule: never remove more than one third of the grass height at one time. And speaking of mowers, do your best to keep your mower blades nice and sharp, as this will help reduce any stress or fraying of the grass blades when it’s time to cut.
During higher temperatures, don’t bag your grass clippings. This applies especially to mulching mowers, as mulched grass can settle into the lawn and help trap moisture. This will help you retain a cooler surface temperature, which can also help hydrate your lawn.
Water at the right time
If you know that temperatures will be hot, it’s good to space out your watering sessions. When you do water, aim for a good, deep soak. Deeper and less-frequent watering sessions can actually prime your turf for better water retention. So, make sure to water long enough to saturate down to the root zone, and then wait to water again until the grass looks dry. This will take some close attention, but when things begin to appear a bit wilted or dried out, you can give it another go.
Watering early during the coolest part of the day is the best approach to take. Those cooler morning hours are a great opportunity for roots to absorb more moisture into the root system. This helps sustain the lawn as it takes on those hotter temps throughout the day.
Limit wear and tear
Remember that hotter temperatures bring a lot of stress to your lawn, so it’s important to enforce a bit of traffic control when it comes to wear and tear on your turf. Not only does this mean keeping foot traffic at a low, but you also want to hold off on any maintenance like fertilizer applications throughout the summer. It’s all about timing. Since these kinds of applications promote more growth, they require energy and can cause more stress on your grass, which will already be maxed out by the summer sun. Additionally, the higher salt content in many fertilizers tends to draw away needed moisture and could cause more harm than good to your lawn. That’s why it’s best to proactively fertilize in spring, well before peak summer temperatures come along.
Activities like aeration or dethatching during periods of high temperatures and stress should also be avoided. Instead, save these for fall or spring when the grass is strong and healthy, and when your turf can recover quickly from the temporary damage caused by these cultivation practices.
Develop a healthy routine
The summer heat can be tough on your yard, but it can still thrive if you plan ahead. The best protection you can give your lawn and garden is maintaining its year-round health. Season-long care includes proper watering, fertilization, mowing, weeding, and pest control. These all help to ensure a healthy lawn that is well-equipped to endure those hot summer days. No matter where you are in your lawn care and landscaping journey, let us help you—each step of the way—by offering the best solutions for the projects ahead of you. For more information on our products, check out our product page or contact us.