The Summer heat and lack of rain has reached us and your cool season turf grasses (fescues, blue and rye grasses) are taking a beating during this time. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn in the best shape possible during this summer stress. The first thing to consider is mowing. You want to mow the grass TALL, the crews at KW started mowing the lawns at 4” last week, up from 3.5” the week before and for the most of June. This allows for the grass blades to produce more carbohydrates which fuels the plant functions, it provides a greater surface area for photosynthesis to occur and it keeps the roots cool as taller leaf blades shade the soil from the hot sun. Mowing your lawn short in the summer will encourage weed seeds to germinate while discouraging your turf grass to thrive, NOT a good idea. The second practice is frequency of watering. Cool season grasses require about 1” of water per week to keep them actively growing, BUT, it is the best practice to water just 1-2 times per week, heavily to achieve that 1”. Watering everyday is detrimental to turf grass during the summer drought period because it encourages shallow roots, which dry out much faster than deep roots. Watering heavily causes the water to go deep into the soil and will encourage the roots to do the same. The last thing to consider is fertilization. Stay away from HEAVY doses of fertilizers especially with large amounts of Nitrogen in them. This will only feed the weeds and not the grass. Heck, who wants to feed weeds. KW’s summer fertilizations contain beneficial microbial biology to create a living soil that the turf grass can feed off of as it needs too.
In review, mow tall, water heavy but infrequently and avoid heavy doses of fertilizers.