How to Help Your Lawn with Heat Stress


Depending on where you live, the summer heat is no joke. Even the short walk from your house to the parked car can make you break out in a sweat. Fido himself will be begging to come indoors after “using that bathroom” outside. Now imagine if you were left to sit outside all day long with the sun bearing down on you. Seems unbearable? These are the kind of conditions your lawn experiences on a daily basis during the summer season.

Although it sounds miserable, your lawn can survive and sometimes flourish in these temperatures—but only if you’re there to help it. Given the right assistance, your lawn doesn’t have to experience drought stress or hot spots. But if the lawn is already showing signs of stress or damage, there are still a few things you can do to help it recover. Check out our tips below.

1. Water, Water, Water—But Know Your Lawn’s Limitations

When you look out the window and see your lawn getting scorched from the sun, it’s tempting to immediately go out and water it. Be careful when doing this though. All grass types typically need a single inch of water per week. This also includes rainstorms. Too much water, combined with the summer heat, gives turfgrass disease the chance it needs to damage your lawn. If you know you’re supposed to get rain during the week, consider holding off from watering the lawn.

Otherwise, practice regular irrigation maintenance. As you’ll see further below in this blog, there are more ways than irrigation to help your lawn with heat stress.

In our Watering 101 blog, we mention that you should water your lawn in the early morning hours just before daylight. This practice avoids wasting water due to rapid evaporation that may happen during the hotter parts of the day. Watering in the early morning also allows for the water to dry up relatively quickly and avoids the possibility for disease. If you water at night, and water sits on your grass overnight, you may be more susceptible to lawn diseases.

2. Use the Right Fertilizer

Most of us know that fertilization is a regular part of lawn maintenance. Using an improper fertilizer, however, can actually do more harm than good to your lawn. Carolina Fresh Farms have experts that are ready to help you with your lawn’s individual needs. Take a look at our blog on summer fertilizer programs to get a better idea of what your grass type needs during the stressful temperatures of the summer.

You can also visit one of your local Carolina Fresh Farm outlets to talk to someone and view your options in person or contact us.

3. Spread Top Dressing to Create Shade

For some of us, covering your lawn in a layer of soil may seem counter-productive. Afterall, who wants to wrap themselves in a blanket with these temperatures? Using top dressing actually cools turfgrass roots and shields some of the blades from the sun with a layer of shade. The layer of soil also slows the evaporation process down, trapping moisture and keeping your grass hydrated longer. On top of this, organic material provides beneficial nutrients to your lawn that strengthens it and helps it fight off other external stressors.

Learn more about the benefits of top dressing in our blog on Soil Science, an organic compost product that boosts your lawn and garden’s health.

4. Don’t Mow Too Low

If you own a lawn, you probably know just how hot it can get mowing it during the summer. Fortunately, it’s actually better to keep your grass’s half an inch or so taller than it’s recommended mowing height. If you have taller grass, the roots have to grow deeper into the soil to support it. The deeper the roots, the more water it can absorb in deeper levels of soil. This also helps with keeping the lawn hydrated.

If you lawn gets too tall though, it can create nesting grounds for insects and pests as well as disease outbreaks.

5. Stay Off the Grass if You Can

If your lawn is already stressed from the heat or you expect it might get stressed soon, stay off of it as much as possible. Your lawn is dealing with more than enough stress with summer temperatures. Adding foot traffic only stresses it out more. Let it solely focus on fighting heat stress for a better chance of survival.

We hope these tips help you manage your lawn during the hottest time of the year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or visit one of our outlets. For more information on seasonal lawn maintenance, see our care guides.

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