Summer’s here and your grass is starting to turn a bit brown. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many homeowners find themselves battling against the heat every year to keep their lawn looking green and healthy. In this article, we will share with you our top 10 tips for keeping your lawn green in the summer sun!
How to Keep a Lawn Green in the Summer Heat
You’ve worked all spring to get your green lawn looking good, but with scorching summer days ahead you’re worried that all that hard work will be wasted.
The good news is that no matter how hot it gets where you live, you can keep your grass green all season long if you take the right steps.
And I should know since it’s common for the summer temperatures where I live to soar into the triple digits for weeks at a time, so I’ve become an expert on hot weather lawn care.
Whether you’re hoping to avoid a brown lawn, or deal with an existing one, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our top tips for keeping your lawn green during the hottest days of summer:
Tips for Keeping your Grass Green in Summer
1. Know What Causes Grass to Turn Brown
While many homeowners may assume that their lawn has turned brown because of the warmer weather, this may not be the case.
There are a few different things that can cause browning, so it’s important to know what to look for.
Diseases – Diseases such as dollar spot, brown patch, and Fusarium blight can cause your lawn to turn yellow or brown. If you think your lawn may be infected with one of these diseases, take a sample of the grass to your local garden center for identification and treatment.
Underwatering – If you’re not watering your lawn enough, it will start to brown. This is because the roots of the grass will dry out and die.
Overwatering – On the other hand, if you’re overwatering your lawn it can also turn brown. This is because the grass will suffocate and die due to a lack of oxygen.
Soil compaction – Soil compaction can also cause a brown lawn. When the soil becomes compacted, it becomes harder for water, air, and nutrients to reach the grass roots.
Sunburn – If your lawn is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, browning is common. This is because the grass will begin to photosynthesize less and use up all of its energy reserves.
Once you are sure that the heat is the cause of your problem, then use the following tips to keep your grass green all summer long.
2. Mow at the Proper Height
When you mow your lawn, make sure to do so at the recommended height for your grass type. Cutting your grass too short can stress it out and make it more susceptible to heat damage.
The most important rule to follow is that you should never cut more than a third of the length of your grass at once. So, if your grass is at the recommended height of three inches, don’t mow it shorter than two inches.
You also don’t want to mow too often.
This is especially important during the extreme heat of summer because your grass will already stressed, so you want to avoid cutting it so short that it will struggle to recover.
3. Water Early in the Morning
One of the most important things you can do to keep your lawn green in summer is water it regularly. But don’t wait until the sun is beating down on your yard before watering!
Watering in the early morning will help your grass absorb more of the water, and it will also help prevent the water from evaporating before it’s had a chance to soak in.
If you can’t water in the morning, try to do it in the evening instead.
However, to avoid fungus you will need to water early enough that your grass is dry before the sun sets.
Watering during the day is not recommended, as the direct sun will cause it to evaporate too quickly to water deeply, which the grass needs to create longer roots.
4. Reduce Traffic
If you can, try to avoid walking or driving on your lawn as much as possible.
This will help keep the soil from becoming compacted and make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the roots where nutrients are absorbed.
We know this may be tricky, as summertime is prime time for your family to be enjoying the outdoors, but if your grass is struggling it’s important to limit traffic as much as possible.
Heavy foot traffic, from pets or humans, can really do a number on your lawn.
5. Avoid Mowing Mid-Day
You definitely want to avoid mowing your lawn in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest.
When grass is cut it is at it’s most vulnerable. If it is immediately exposed to intense heat and high temperatures there is a good chance that it could brown.
Wait until the evening or morning to mow your lawn, when the temperatures are a little cooler.
6. Mulch Your Grass Clippings
If your mower has a mulch setting, summer is a great time to use it.
A mulching mower will return the fresh clippings back onto the lawn.
By mulching your clippings you will return nutrients back to the soil which is good for your lawn. Mulching also helps to keep the soil moist and cool, which is ideal for summertime lawn care.
7. Clean Up After Pets
While not related to the weather, pet waste, especially urine is known to cause brown spots throughout your lawn.
The high nitrogen levels can quickly damage your lawn, which will result in obvious brown spots throughout your lawn.
This can be exacerbated by the high heat of summer.
It’s best to train your pets to relieve themselves in an area of your yard that is bare, but if you can’t keep your pet from urinating on the lawn, try to hose off the area with water as soon as possible. This will help to dilute the urine and minimize the damage.
8. Avoid Using Week Killer
We all want our lawn to be lush and green, but using weed killers in the summer is not the best idea.
The heat can make the chemicals in herbicides more volative and stressful for your grass.
If you must use a weed killer, try to do so in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler out. Always refer to the herbicide label and follow the temperature guidelines for application that it suggests.
If you’re having trouble with weeds, try using a manual removal method instead such as pulling them out by hand.
9. Choose a Warm Season Grass
When it comes to keeping your lawn green in the heat of summer, it’s important to understand your grass type.
There are two types of grass – cool season and warm season.
Cool season grasses such as fescue, rye, and bluegrass do well in the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate. However, they struggle in the summer heat.
Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia, on the other hand, thrive in the summer heat.
If you’re having trouble keeping your lawn green during the summer months, it may be time to consider switching to a warm season grass.
Bermuda, St. Augustine, or Zoysia can better tolerate heat and humidity than cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue.
If you live in an area that can tolerate both cool and warm season grasses growing a warm-season grass, will ensure a happy, greener lawn during the summer.
10. Adjust Your Irrigation Schedule
If you have an automatic irrigation system, it’s important to adjust the watering schedule during the summer.
Watering your lawn too much can actually do more harm than good.
Overwatering can lead to root rot, fungal diseases, and even weed growth.
It’s best to water your lawn for a longer duration but less often, known as deep watering. This will help the water to reach deep into the soil and deliver the nutrients from the soil that your lawn needs.
The goal is to apply at least one inch of water per week.
However, you must also be mindful of water restrictions in your area.
Compared to shallow watering, this process will help your grass to develop deep roots, making it more tolerant to drought conditions and heat.
11. Provide More Shade
If you’re experiencing problems with brown patches in your lawn, providing more shade may be the solution.
Direct sun can quickly dry out your lawn, causing it to become stressed, while shade will help to keep the soil cool and moist.
One way to provide shade is by planting trees or shrubs near your home.
Another option is to install a shade sail over an area of your yard that receives direct sun.
A little bit of extra shade can help keep your lawn looking green all summer long.
12. Selectively Fertilize
Fertilizing your lawn can be a great way to keep it green during the summer, but you don’t want to fertilize too much.
Too much fertilizer can actually cause your grass to become stressed.
Organic fertilizers tend to be more effective in high temperatures because they lack synthetic nitrogen and break down quickly to provide the necessary nutrients.
It’s best to wait until early fall to fertilize and aerate your lawn, but if you feel like you just can’t wait, you can try using a light application of an organic fertilizer.
12 Maintain Your Mower
If you’re mower isn’t running well, the blades are dull, or there’s something blocking the discharge outlet, it can cause your lawn to brown.
Be sure to give your mower a good cleaning and sharpen the blades at least once a year. Dull blades will not only make it harder to cut the grass, but will also tear the grass blades, causing them to brown.
This will protect your lawn from mowing damage which will put your grass into duress and make it more susceptible to burning.
Also check for any debris that may be clogging up the discharge outlet so the clippings can be properly mulched and returned to the soil.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Your Lawn Green in Summer Heat
While it may take a little bit of effort, following these tips will help you keep your lawn green during the hot summer months.
The trick to keep your lawn green in summer heat is to adjust your watering schedule, mow high, avoid too much foot traffic, and keep your mower in good shape.
By keeping on top of lawn maintenance like watering, fertilizing, and mowing, you can ensure that you will have a healthy lawn that you and your family can enjoy all season long.