Lawns Need Extra Care as Days Get Warmer and Drier
The wet May has lawns green, growing and forgiving. As the longer days of summer heat up, lawns will need extra care.
Bluegrass will stay alive but will look brown and dormant with two inches of water or less during the hot summer months. Bluegrass lawns will look acceptable to most people with three inches of water during the hot months. And as we’ve seen lately, with more than three inches of water a month most lawns will be as attractive as a golf course.
When the weather cools into autumn, bluegrass requires a lot less water. In September a couple inches of water will keep the grass green. By October, an inch is all the lawn needs. So do a monthly adjustment. Change your sprinkler system clock or your watering practices to match the weather and grass needs.
Keep bluegrass at least two and a half inches tall. The longer the grass is the deeper the roots go. Deeper roots use water more efficiently. Mow often enough that you cut only one-third off the top of the grass. That has been hard to keep up with this spring. Cutting more makes the grass turn brown.
Keep your mower blade sharp. A dull blade splits the grass blades and makes the grass turn brown.
Use a mulching mower. Recent research at CSU showed more nutrients were kept in the lawn if the grass clippings were not picked up. A mulching mower cuts the clippings into small particles so they don’t build into a thick thatch.
Grass is a heavy feeder. Fertilize every four to six weeks during the growing season for a dark green, lush, weed choking lawn. Some recommendations are not to fertilize during the heat of July. We use a granular, organic fertilizer. It works great. And it’s easier on our kids, pets and environment.
Bluegrass doesn’t have to be the resource sucking monster it’s sometimes made out to be. Bluegrass is a natural filter. It removes dust, dirt and pollutants from the air. It also purifies water born pollutants as they pass through its root system. Turf areas can be twenty-five to thirty degrees cooler than asphalt on hot days. Properly trained and maintained grass areas can be environmentally beneficial.