It is no secret that summers in Tennessee, Northern Georgia, and Northeastern Alabama are ridiculously hot at times. As humans, we can catch a break from the heat in our air conditioned homes. Unfortunately, our lawns get no relief from the heat, enduring the very hottest of summer days. Understandably, growing green grass during the heat of summer is no simple task.
At Davis Kee Outdoor, we are well aware that summer lawn care in our service area is rife with potential frustrations. We don’t have any control over what Mother Nature throws at us, but we can provide some useful tips to help ensure that your lawn is as successful as it possibly can be. The fact is that even the healthiest and best cared for lawns are going to struggle during the extreme heat. There are some steps you can take to keep your lawn in the best possible shape this summer.
Fight Summer Lawn Care Stressors
Summer lawn care is a complec problem in this area because you are confronted with a number of potential stressors. The immediately obvious one is the weather.
In summer, your lawn is forced to endure brutal heat and long periods without significant rainfall. A quick test to check if your lawn is browning due to drought stress is to look at the way your grass blades “bounce back” when you walk on them. If you are seeing footprints throughout your lawn, or much more noticeable mower tracks after mowing, your lawn is most likely experiencing drought stress. Having said that, disease and insects are also a potential threat to a lush summer lawn.
Summertime is when fungal lawn diseases can thrive. This includes Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, and Fairy Ring. Any of these can be responsible for your lawn being brown or discolored. Also, pests such as grubs, or surface feeder lawn insects can also cause a serious threat to your lawn health.
A much larger issue can emerge when these issues combine. A lawn under stress from heat and drought is much more succeptible to disease, and the combination of the two can propel your lawn issues from bad to much worse in a very short increment of time. Your best defense is to keep your lawn as healthy as you can. Our experience is that the healthiest lawns we encounter are maintained with a combination of professional lawn care and the proper cultural practices. This combination is the key to keeping grass greener in summer. Let’s look at some specific examples.
Keeping Your Grass Greener in Summer
When summer lawn care is the goal in the greater Chattanooga area, there are a few important considerations that must be kept in mind. Let’s examine them.
If you want green grass in summer, it isn’t a secret that adequate watering is at the top of the list of concerns. If you are trying to keep your lawn free of summer lawn problems related to drought, you surely want to make sure you are watering your lawn properly and effectively. This is one of those items many people consider an obvious one, but there are lots of ways to make mistakes with watering involving the quantity of water used at each watering, the duration of the watering, and the frequency of watering. A typical lawn in our area requires 1-2 inches of water per week.
The goal should always be a “soaking” style of watering, as opposed to an occasional “top” watering here or there. The goal is soaking your lawn deeply until the soil is moist down a few inches. Depending on your lawn and the type of watering apparatus used, this could mean running sprinklers for an hour or so during each watering to ensure adequate soaking.
We also have noticed that most of us give Mother Nature far to much credit for the amount of rainfall received. A heavy downpour after a rain deficit dows not automatically mean you can wait until next week to water again. A rain gauge is a very helpful tool to take the guesswork out of your watering, and lets you know more precisely how much water is making it into your lawn.
After watering, a proper year round regimen of fertilization plays a significant role in how well your lawn stays green and healthy. Fertilizers provide your lawn with the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassion (N,P,K) which are the primary nutrients your lawn needs to be successful. Timing is everything with fertilizing regimens. Once the heat of summer arrives it is not recommended to fertilize as this can aggravate turflawn disease and actually cause harm to your lawn.
It isn’t commonly known, but mowing puts added stress on your lawn in the summertime. Generally speaking, evey time you mow, the cuts place stress on your grass. If your lawn is also drought stressed, it will be harder for your lawn to recover from each mowing.
The key to this is to mow correctly. Mowing height is one very important consideration. In general, it is healthier to keep your grass length a little taller. The height that is best for your lawn will largely depend on the primary type of grass that makes up your lawn.
Here are some common recommendations for our area:
- Tall Fescue: 3 to 3.5 inches
- Perennial Ryegrass: 2 to 2.5 inches
- Zoysia: 2 to 3 inches
- Bermudagrass: 1 to 2 inches
We also recommend mowing more often so that less of the grass is cut during each mowing. A weekly schedule has been our recommendation because that allows each mowing to remove 1/3 of the grass blade or less. Removing more than 1/3 of the grass blades on each mowing causes significantly more stress on your grass.
Grasses typically have dormancy as a natural protection mechanis, to help the grass withstand changes in weather. Temperature and weather can greatly impact the appearance of your lawn. Cool season grasses such as Fescues and Rye will go brown and dormant during prolonged extreme heat, just as warm season grasses such as Bermuda or Zoysia will go brown dormant during the cold winter months. These grasses are still alive and will become green once favorable weather returns.
To summarize, the type of grass has a lot to do with the color of your lawn at certain times of the year. If you want a lawn that remains green through all seasons, you can plant a mixture of warm season and cool season grasses.
A Lawn Care Company For All Seasons
When the subject is quality lawn care, every season has a different set of required maintenance and challenges. Regardless of the season, you want to know that your lawn is getting the best possible care and maintenance to be the best it can be. One very significant factor is partnering with a lawn care company that will partner with you to achieve the results you desire. When you partner with Davis Kee Outdoor you have a partner that is always here to answer your questions.