Six simple tips to combat summer stress

You’ve seen it: thin, brown, declining turf. These are the characteristics of an outdoor living space suffering from multiple different environmental conditions. The continuous heat, humidity, and possible draught conditions of the summer put the highest level of stress on your grass. Don’t let the summer heat beat your outdoor living space. Follow Inch’s Natural Fertilization and Pest Control’s six simple tips to safeguard against summer stress.

TIP 1: RAISE MOWING HEIGHT-  The lower you cut the grass in your outdoor living space affects its ability to produce energy. Shorter grass means less surface area to capture the sun to complete the photosynthesis cycle, the process that produces energy. A lack of plant energy contributes to root zones that are not deep and vigorous. Mow your grass at a height of approximately three and a half inches during the summer months. When temperatures begin to cool in the fall, lower your cut to three inches. And, whenever you cut your grass, remember the one-third rule: Never cut more than one-third of the grass blade at once. Doing so damages the turf and limits the grass’s ability to cool itself due to the shock.

TIP 2: SHARPEN MOWING BLADES – Sharp mowing blades allow for a clean cut in the outdoor living space. They also minimize stress to your blades of grass and prevent browning. Dull mowing blades shred your grass, damaging the tips and permitting diseases to enter. Avoid shredding your lawn. Sharpen your mowing blades at the beginning of the spring, summer, and fall seasons for a clean cut in your outdoor living space.

TIP 3: MULCH AND RECYCLE GRASS CLIPPINGS- Don’t bag your grass clippings. Put nutrients back into the soil ecosystem by mulching and recycling grass clippings. As the clippings slowly decompose, they release valuable nutrients– free fertilization for your lawn. Even better, you reduce your footprint on the environment by keeping one less, grass-filled trash bag out of our landfills.

TIP 4: IRRIGATE EARLY AND INFREQUENTLY- Water management is one of the most important cultural practices for your lawn. With its deep and infrequent watering capabilities, an irrigation system offers the best and most controlled watering for your outdoor living space. A deep watering hydrates the entire root zone and trains the grass to dig deeper for water. Set your system to run early in the morning to reduce the amount of time that moisture is present on the turf. Avoid over-watering, as it can cause anaerobic or oxygen-deprived conditions in the soil that cause the turf grass to decline. Most outdoor living spaces require about one to one-and-a-half inches of water per week to maintain health.

TIP 5: UNDERSTAND DORMANCY- If your outdoor living space is not getting enough water, the grass will naturally go into a state of dormancy as a temporary survival mechanism until adequate moisture is present. Though dormant grass turns brown, the crown and the roots are still alive. When your lawn becomes dormant, don’t panic. Wait for rain or make your own by watering with your oscillating sprinkler.

TIP 6: AVOID APPLICATIONS- Right now, the cool-season turf grass system in your outdoor living space is consuming more energy than it can produce in order to survive the summer heat. Applying a treatment is counterproductive. A fertilization treatment that has natural salt content could suck valuable moisture from your grass. No matter how brown your grass gets, fertilization is not the answer. Stop treatment after your preventative grub control application from Inch’s Natural.

Follow our tips and your lawn seems beat by the summer heat? Not to worry. It happens. Your outdoor living space is like a human. Sometimes, even the most well-conditioned person succumbs to illness. If you see areas of grass that do not match the rest of your outdoor living space, call us. You may need a curative fungicide to correct the issue and to provide further decline. Inch’s Natural Fertilization and Pest Control won’t let the summer heat beat your outdoor living space!

–Luke Zimmerman, B.S. Turfgrass Science                                                                                                                                           General Manager and Senior Agronomist, Inch’s Natural Fertilization and Pest Control