Can Your Lawn Handle the Heat?
A few weeks ago, I gave some tips on drought proofing your lawn. Hopefully you took advantage of those suggestions, because we are experiencing some hot, dry conditions that are stressing our lawns right now. While no time is a good time for extended days of upper 90’s with little to no rain, late summer is a time that places undue stress on your landscape. Grass and plants should be building up carbohydrate reserves for winter right now. Our turf and plants cannot do that when they are struggling, though.
What Should You Do?
Now the time when it’s nice to have an irrigation system. If you are lucky enough to have one, don’t over water, but be sure your landscape is getting the water it needs. Look for wilted plants or discolored turf and ensure your irrigation is running long enough and is reaching all areas.
If you are like me and don’t have an irrigation system, you can still help your plants and turf. Don’t attempt to water your entire lawn or water every day necessarily. Go for the long, soaking method and water the areas that need it the most. I’ve got an area in my front yard near an oak tree that struggles any time of the year. Right now, the grass in this area is fighting to survive so I soaked that area yesterday. Another part of my lawn was damaged when I did some work last year, so I have paid special attention to this area since the grass has been getting reestablished this year.
Pay attention to your landscape beds as well. If you have any plantings that were new this year, the roots of those plants are not as well established. Shallow rooted plants such as hydrangeas or azaleas will often wilt when it’s this hot and dry.
Insects and Disease Can Flare Up in the Heat
Armyworms, Chinch bugs and Spittlebugs often attack lawns during dry periods. The damage these insects cause mimics drought symptoms. The same goes for your plant material. A shrub covered in aphids can wilt much like it would during a drought. A fungus referred to as melting out disease thrives during dry, hot days. If you’ve watered your lawn and the discoloration gets worse, investigate for insects and disease.
Time to Give Up?
Hardly so. The good news is grass and plants are usually very resilient. Most of our landscape will come through this heat and dryness just fine. Lawns that have received proper fertilization and maintained properly will fare better. Bottom line is take a walk around your lawn and look for areas of stress. Water stressed areas to give them relief and be sure you water deeply and infrequently. If you see signs of serious stress, give us a call at 662-534-4535 or contact us. One of our certified, trained technicians will be glad to offer advice.