Is Heat and Drought Stress Harming Your Lawn?

“Summertime.” DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s lyrics, “time to sit back and unwind,” have stuck in my mind ever since I heard this song about the beloved months of summer. Whether you’re in Ohio, Indianapolis, or Kentucky, it is truly a time of sunshine, warmth, and fun with family and friends.

While it may seem like it, right now is not the time to let your guard down with your lawn. Common lawn stressors such as high temperatures and drought stress can take over your yard during these hot few months and wreak havoc on your grass before you have time to prepare. However, once you understand what these lawn stressors are, how they are different, and what you can help do to prevent them, you as a home or business owner, will be able to minimize their long-term impact. That is why we have outlined everything you need to know right here in this article. brown lawn caused by drought stress

What Is Drought Stress?

Drought stress is your turf’s reaction to not receiving enough water. While this is not usually an issue in Ohio, Indianapolis, or even Kentucky, we get less rain during the hot summer months of July and August. Add on the significant amount of heat we receive, and your lawn requires about one to two inches of water every week. If it doesn’t receive this amount, it will turn brown and become more vulnerable to disease and pest infestations.

What Is Heat Stress?

Heat stress is your grass’s reaction to repeated high temperatures. In Ohio, Indianapolis, and Kentucky, we typically use cool-season grasses to create our lawns. This includes Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass, to name a few. When the air temperature exceeds 90 degrees for several days in a row, changes in the plant’s protein occur. When an excessive amount of heat touches the blades of your grass for an extended period, something called denaturation happens. This process destroys the protein structure of the plant. Once it occurs, it is irreversible.

Symptoms of Drought or Heat Stress Include:

  • Patches of brown grass
  • Curling grass blades that start to wilt
  • Weeds popping up more frequently out of nowhere
  • Gaps between your sidewalk and grass
  • Footprints left behind in your grass after someone walks on it
  • Dead or dying grass blades

Ways to Protect Your Grass From Heat and Drought Stress

Raise Your Lawn Mower
Allow your grass to grow just a little taller. While this may sound odd, it helps your lawn retain water a bit longer. It also provides more shade for the soil below and makes your grass more drought resistant. Allowing your grass to grow taller also helps prevent weeds from germinating. And don’t forget about the one-third rule in mowing. Never mow more than one-third of the height of your turf in one single mowing. Doing so can be devastating to your lawn.

Irrigate Properly

Keeping your grass properly hydrated during these few months of hot weather is critical to maintaining a healthy, beautiful lawn. Try to spray water for at least 20 minutes every night and space out the times you irrigate further apart. When you water for longer rather than for just a few minutes every day, you help encourage stronger root growth. Roots that stay near the surface dry out quickly. Also, try to allow the soil to dry in between watering to encourage your grass to dig deeper into the ground to find water. Doing this encourages deeper root growth which is beneficial to your irrigating lawn lawn. 

Invest in a Lawn Care Program With Adequate Fertilization
The best thing you can do for your grass at any time is to maintain its health and vitality. To do this, you need to stick to a set plan for fertilization. Fertilizing your lawn with a nitrogen-based fertilizer during the hot summer will help promote the growth and durability of your roots. Having strong, healthy roots goes a long way in protecting your grass from falling prone to disease and insect infestations. It also helps ensure your lawn is more tolerant of the heat and able to withstand the hot, dry days of summer.

Protect Your Turf With Lawn Care Service From the Professionals at Unique Lawn Care

It is common to experience heat and drought stress throughout your lawn during the dog days of summer. However, how you care for and treat your turf will go a long way in determining how your turf is affected. Your friends at Unique Lawn Care understand the importance of having a healthy, green, vibrant lawn. Our comprehensive lawn care service provides the essential nutrients your yard needs to stay healthy, and the proper weed and insect control needed to stay protected.

Contact us now to learn more about our unique lawn care service and how it can help protect your grass this summer. We also offer tree and shrub care servicesmosquito and pest control, and a variety of other services. Check out our website or contact us now. Our customers in Dayton, Ohio, can reach us at 937-746-5000. For those customers residing in the Cincinnati area, you can reach us at 513-779-1111. Live or work in Indianapolis? Give us a ring at 317-576-1800. And lastly, if you are in the Louisville area, call us at 502-637-5700.

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