You think you have stress? What about your lawn? The sun beats down on it. People walk all over it. It's thirsty, and weeds want to take over. Yes, it's rough out there in the yard. But you can take some easy steps to help your lawn cope with the stresses of summer.
Heat, dry weather, and foot traffic are major stresses for most types of grass. Others include weeds and bugs, but they can become worse when your lawn is already suffering.
When you walk on well-watered grass, the grass blades spring back. On a dry lawn, the grass stays beaten down, and the grass itself can be damaged. Also, heavy foot traffic on wet soil can lead to soil compaction, which keeps air from getting to grass roots.
Dull mower blades shred grass, so they lose more moisture than they would with a clean cut. Also, the shredded tips turn brown, making the lawn look dull. Most grass types prefer to be mowed high, so set your blade at one of the highest settings on your mower. Taller grass grows deeper roots, and deeper roots can reach moisture that's further down in the soil.
Stressed-out lawns aren't growing, so feeding them won't help much. Instead feed before the hot, dry weather arrives. Once the weather cools down and rain returns, feed again to help your lawn recover quicker.
Morning, between 6AM and 10AM, is the most efficient time to water your lawn. Less is lost to evaporation and your lawn has time to dry off before nightfall. Watering in the afternoon is throwing water away to evaporation. Watering at night invites disease. Half an inch twice a week or 1 inch a week should keep your lawn refreshed.
If your lawn is prone to heat stress, you might want to overseed it in the fall with a grass that's been bred to handle heat and drought. For example, Scotts® Turf Builder® Heat-Tolerant Blue® Mix contains Thermal Blue® Kentucky Bluegrass, which stays green even in scorching heat and drought, and spreads to fill bare spots.