How to Reduce Lawn Stress in the Summer
With these simple strategies, you can have a healthy lawn that can survive bugs, weeds, heat and more.
Make Life Easier for Your Lawn
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.
Stress Factors for Your Lawn
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.
Try Not to Walk on Your Grass
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.
Keep Your Mower Blade Sharp and High
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.
When Your Lawn Is Stressed Out, Hold Off on Feeding
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. Scotts® TurfBuilder® UltraFeed™ is an excellent choice for fertilizing lawns that tend to get stressed in the summer. It holds onto nutrients until your lawn needs them, then releases them. Because of this, a single feeding can last up to 6 months.
When You Water, Do It in the Morning
Morning, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., 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.
One easy way to make sure your lawn is getting the right amount of moisture at the right time of day is to connect your sprinkler system to the Gro® 7 Zone Controller, an EPA Watersense-certified device that can save you up to 7,600 gallons of water per year. Using localized information like weather data, the Controller works with the Gro Connect app to create a watering schedule customized to work beautifully for your particular lawn. You can even make changes right from your smartphone.
Overseed in the Fall
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.
Plant a Low-Stress Lawn
Next time you're starting a lawn from scratch, consider planting a Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn. This type of lawn is low maintenance and will stay greener longer during drought than some traditional grass lawns, thanks to deep roots that reach way down into the soil to find water sources. That's also why you won't have to water as frequently. As a bonus, clover self-fertilizes when you let the clippings stay on the lawn after mowing.