Summertime in the Southeast presents both opportunities and challenges when it comes to caring for your lawn. The bright sun, the warm weather, the afternoon rain showers give your grass the energy and moisture it needs to thrive. On the other hand, the high temperatures and excessive exposure to sun and moisture can damage your grass and dry it out, causing heat stress, which can then result in other problems with your lawn.
The lawn care professionals at Mighty Green Lawn Care are very experienced with drought stress or heat stress and know how to prevent it. Our team will be able to keep your lawn safe during even the most sweltering Alabama summers.
What is Heat Stress?
Heat stress, or drought stress, is defined as the damage that occurs when grass or plants are exposed to heat while not receiving enough moisture. The most common symptoms of heat stress are:
Patches of Discoloration: The more heat stress your lawn is under, the more discolored areas will appear. Typically brown in color, the patches grow more numerous the further away from a water source.
Wilted Grass Blades: Heat stress causes grass blades to wilt, but so do other factors. If wilting and discoloration occur together, it is highly likely that your lawn is suffering from drought stress.
Hard Soil: A simple way to test for heat stress is to try pushing a screwdriver into the soil under the discolored patches of grass, and then try pushing it in the soil under green areas of grass. If the screwdriver goes in easily in the green areas, but won’t push in to the brown areas, heat stress is likely the problem.
Heat stress seems to be worse if the soil under the affected area becomes compact, so it is important to avoid walking on your lawn. Once you know you’re dealing with drought stress, take the steps to reverse the effects and protect your grass going forward. Once again, the team at Mighty Green Lawn Care will be able to handle all of that for you.
Lawn Tips for Drought-Like Conditions
When rain is scarce, heat stress is especially common in the Southeast, so it’s important to protect your lawn. Reduce the level of stress by:
Water deeply: Water your lawn less often, but at greater depth. It is typically recommended to water ½ inch twice per week or 1 inch once a week. Doing this will cause the grass roots to grow deeper, allowing them to access water even during the hottest and driest periods. Be sure to water between 6-10am so that the moisture is less likely to evaporate before reaching the roots.
- Use a sharp mower blade: A dull blade will tear the grass blades, leaving a lot of openings for moisture to leak. Using a sharp blade will make a clean cut, minimizing the amount of moisture that will be lost. A sharp blade also helps minimize the chance of fungal infections.
- Avoid fertilizing: During drought conditions, your turf won’t be able to use fertilizer unless it has enough moisture to accompany it.
- Aerate: Opening up the soil with core aeration will enable water to move through it more easily.
Following these guidelines when the temperatures are high and there is very little moisture will help prevent heat stress as well as help your lawn recover if it is in distress.
If you are concerned about heat or drought stress in your lawn, please give the team at Mighty Green Lawn Care a call. We are more than happy to assist in protecting your turf grass and keeping it green and healthy all year long!