How to Help A Heat-Stressed Lawn

Late Summer Lawn Care

Lawn looking kind of sad? If you’re feeling discouraged with the state of your yard, you’re not alone. Busy summer schedules can foil our best intentions, causing us to neglect our yards, and extreme weather can thwart the best efforts of even the most attentive homeowners, and drought stress can turn your once lush green grass into a splotchy brown lawn.

Not to fear! There’s still time for rejuvination! Follow these tips from our experts.

Top 3 Tips to Help A Heat-Stressed Lawn

  • Water Deeply, Not Daily. We can’t emphasize this enough. When it comes to watering your lawn, the best approach is to water deeply, but infrequently. During the heat of late summer, your lawn needs 1 – 1 ½ inches of water per week. Instead of watering daily, water for about an hour, 2-3 times per week.
  • Aerate. Compacted lawns make it hard for moisture to reach the root and would greatly benefit from aeration. To check your lawn, you can take a knife or screwdriver and stab it into the lawn. If it does not go in smoothly, this is a sign that your lawn is stressed. Aeration opens up spaces for air, water and nutrients to reach the grassroots. Regular applications of Aerify PLUS improve overall soil health, and it’s safe to use around sprinklers or in a fertigation system.
  • Bug infestation. As mentioned, brown spots on your lawn are often due to improper watering or heat stress, however an insect infestation could be the issue. Insect larvae can eat the grass’s roots, while some suck moisture directly from grass blades. Yard Guard uses concentrated cedar oil to repel and kill all kinds of pests, including ants, aphids, chinch bugs, fleas, gnats, grubs, Japanese beetles, mosquitoes, moths, squash bugs, stink bugs, ticks, webworms, and a whole lot more. Cedar loves water, so spraying Yard Guard after a rain or watering your lawn works best.

Mowing Your Lawn When it’s Under Stress

Mowing your lawn and how you mow it can have a huge impact on the health and appearance of your grass. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re mowing in a way that doesn’t add more stress to your lawn!

  • Keep Blades Sharp. Even if you’ve sharpened the blades on your mower earlier in the spring, you’ll want to check them again and sharpen them as needed. Instead of a clean cut, dull blades can pull at the grass, leaving the plant more susceptible to disease (and looking raggedy!).
  • Mow at the right height. You may think cutting your grass lower means less mowing for you, but proper mowing has a significant impact on the health of your lawn. Keeping your grass at a minimum height of 3 inches can help protect it from the stressors of summer. Longer grass blades hold more reserve water, and grow deeper roots. Unless you have a bentgrass lawn (grass that grows sideways instead of up) mow tall!
  • Trim, don’t chop. A general rule is do not cut off more than 1/3 of the total blade height when you mow to protect your grass and keep it lush.
  • Never mow a wet lawn. Ever!

Do some of these tips look familiar? That’s because these are great guidelines for the rest of the lawn care season, too!

Should I Fertilize a Stressed-Out Lawn?

If your lawn is looking brown, dried out, or feels crunchy, it is too stressed from the heat and possibly even dormant. Fertilizing your lawn while it is in this state can really stress it out, if not outright kill it. If you really want to get a fertilizer application in before summer is out, follow the tips above first. Once the grass has hydrated and revived, and the soil is moist from adequate watering, you can apply a gentler fertilizer like our Bio-Enhanced 16-4-8, or get more aeration a dethatching done with an application of Lawn Force 5.

If you want a lush, dark green lawn but not the excessive growth, try using Liquid Iron (after making sure you water deeply to revive the lawn!). Iron improves grass color without forcing the growth that you get with high nitrogen fertilizers. Our sugar-chelated Liquid Iron soil amendment provides a readily available source of iron to increase chlorophyll in any plant, making it rapidly greener without the growth. This is the perfect late-summer application for a lawn that is looking a little more ragged than you’d like!

Got questions about your lawn? We’re always here to help!