Much of the country has been in the mid of a heat wave this summer. One of the many side effects can be watching your lush, green lawn turn into a rough brown carpet of seemingly dead grass. In some cases, your lawn may be dormant and it's too late to bring it back to its old vibrant self. Or, it may just be showings signs of stress due to the heat, and you can help revive it.
When your lawn starts to turn brown you need to act quickly. First, you have to make a decision about your priorities – do you want a green lawn, or a green (natural, organic) lawn?
If your primary concern is for the environment, letting your lawn go dormant may be the best decision. Keeping a lawn green through the entire summer, especially in areas with intense heat, requires a lot of watering. If that water is not coming from the sky, it means you will have to irrigate a lot.
Dormancy is not a bad thing, it's your lawn's way of conserving energy until the growth cycle can sustain under conditions that stress the grass plants less. It does not mean the grass is dead, it's just brown. But remember, once it goes completely brown, watering will not help make it green, it might even stress the plants more and contribute to disease. You just have to wait it out.
If you choose to keep your lawn green year-round, irrigation has to start well before the lawn starts to turn brown – really, your last-ditch efforts to reverse the dormancy process simply will not work. Lawns typically need about one inch of water per week, and as always, it's better to water deeply every 7-10 days, rather than frequent light watering.
Watering early in the day is also recommended so that the water has a chance to be absorbed before heat will burn it off. It also reduces the chances of disease and fungus as the lawn will be mostly dry by nighttime.
Adjusting your mowing height to about three inches or higher will also help protect your lawn from summer heat damage. The roots will be allowed to grow deeper, water will be retained better, and your soil is less likely to dry out. You may have to mow more frequently to keep your lawn at a desirable height, but it's worth it if you want to keep that grass green! On the plus side, grass tend to grow slower in high heat (so it can conserve energy), so it balances out a little.
If you are fertilizing in the summer, use a fertilizer with a fairly low nitrogen content (like a liquid fertilizer with a 10-8-8 NPK ratio) that will not burn the plants. Liquid fertilizers are best because they are absorbed by the plant roots and do not sit on top of the grass.
If your lawn starts to get less green, either from heat stress or from being bleached by the sun, use a non-staining liquid iron product to green it up. The iron will go straight to the grass roots and turn the foliage green. This works on all green plants, by the way, not just grass, so you can give your bushes and shrubs a boost too!
Whatever you decide, enjoy the summer and stay safe in this heat!
Source by Adrienne Stauffer