Summertime in the south can play havoc on your lawn. One minute your grass can be drying out under intense, punishing heat and the next it can be drowning under a torrential summer thunderstorm. During this tumultuous time of year, being able to adapt your lawn care strategy to changing conditions is extremely important, because providing too much water can be just as problematic as providing too little. So here are some helpful watering tips to keep in mind so that you can keep your lawn healthy and lush all summer long.
Plan Your Lawn to Fit Your Location
There are many varieties of grass, each adapted to thrive under differing conditions, and choosing a grass that is suited to your region will make care and maintenance far easier. In the south, either Zoysia or Bermuda are good choices, as they are both naturally drought-tolerant and don’t need regular watering. A tall fescue may look and feel nice, but unless you have a chance to water it often it will die out quickly, leaving you worse off than you started. Tall fescue is also vulnerable to various diseases that can do extensive damage to the turf in times of stress.
Water Your Turf Efficiently
Watering grass during the hottest parts of the day is a waste of time, as the majority of the moisture will be absorbed into the hot air before it ever reaches the grass’s roots. Instead, plan to water very early in the morning, before it gets too hot. This way, most of the water will make it to the roots, but the grass blades will still dry quickly, preventing disease and fungus. For maximum efficiency, limit watering to once a week for about an hour or so. Watering every day encourages both a shallow root system, which is less able to tolerate drought, and annoying weeds like dollarweed and nutgrass that thrive in moist soil.
Mow Only When Necessary
When the weather is hot, it is often advisable to let grass grow a bit longer than usual. When grass is cut, it can lose a great deal of moisture through the cut blades, which can turn grass brown if you are unable to water it frequently. In drought conditions, taller grass can also help shade and cool the ground, reducing moisture loss and helping the grass stay greener. Conversely, a lower height provides air and light that encourages new weeds to sprout. During the summer we recommend only mowing the grass after it has rained for at least two days in a row and that you set your lawn mower blades at their highest setting.
Ground water is a precious, and sadly increasingly limited, natural resource. Taking some precautions to make sure that you use that resource both effectively and responsibly is the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy your lawn for many years to come. If you have questions about your lawn, or about any of the customized lawn care treatment packages that we provide, please contact Turf Shield to get more information. Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Twitter or Facebook to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.