On the hot days of summer, we cool ourselves by the air conditioner and by taking dips in the pool or at the beach, but how do you help your lawn handle the heat?
It’s important you don’t forget that your lawn may need a little help cooling off as well in order for it to continue to thrive after a relentlessly hot day.
Here’s are some key tips:
If your lawn requires water, do so in the morning before the sun is too high in the sky – Give it a nice deep soaking for at least 30-40mins when doing so. This will encourage your lawns roots to go down deeper to create a more drought tolerant, less thirsty lawn. Over time this will allow you to water your lawn less often, helping you to save water.
Avoid causing excessive compaction to the soil base, the baking hot sun will intensify the compaction further if allowed to develop this time of year. To see how your soil is holding up and whether compaction is a problem, you can undertake the screwdriver test. This involves using a long screwdriver and driving it into the soil with one hand to see how far it will penetrate (minding any irrigation or electrical cabling). You should be able to easily push it in for up to 100 to 150mm without too much resistance. If you can’t do this, then you will need undertake aeration and in some circumstances look at introducing a sandy loam topdressing to improve the soil.
Mow your lawn earlier in the day or when the sun is going down to avoid causing leaf stress from the hot sun. Mid-morning or mid-to-late-afternoon is usually ideal, as there is no dew sitting on the lawn. Dew can cause your mower to tear or rip at your grass which opens your lawn up to possible disease and fungal issues.
Cut your grass on a slightly higher setting to help it retain moisture. The longer grass will help shade the soil, minimising evaporation and prevent the sun from baking the soil until it is hard and compacted. Cutting your lawn too short in summer will stop your lawn from producing the energy it requires for healthy root and leaf growth.
What to avoid
Avoid any kind of major lawn care maintenance during drought periods that will cause additional stress to the lawn.
It’s all in the turf
Choose a drought tolerant turf variety – A warm season variety like TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda or Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo will be much more resilient to the heat during summer.