Is Your Lawn Stressed?

We’re having a heat wave and lawns are showing the stress.  A heat-stressed lawn shows up in faded color, brown spots, footprints that don’t spring back after you walk across the grass – and dry soil underneath. A sprinkler system that is out of adjustment or has other problems will only make matters worse.   Every weakness or problem with the sprinkler system will show up during a heat wave.  If there’s a developing brown spot in the lawn, it may be sprinkler-related.  If the nozzle in the middle of the sprinkler head is clogged with debris, water won’t reach the grass.  Or if the sprinkler is aimed in the wrong direction or doesn’t turn back and forth as it should, the lawn will miss out on water and stress more with each day that passes.   In these cases, watering longer won’t help thirsty plants because the water is not reaching them.  Fixing these underlying problems is the only solution. More reasons not to water longer When you water longer than the soil can absorb the water, you’re creating runoff and wasting water.  To avoid this, do the following:

  • Use the cycle and soak method of watering.  Rather than running the system for 30 minutes all at one time, for example, deliver the water in two shorter periods with a break in between so the water has time to soak in.
  • When water starts to run off the lawn, it’s time to shorten the watering cycle.  Water only as long as the plants can absorb it.
  • Sprinklers that move back and forth across the lawn should run longer than the pop-up sprinklers that water continuously in one place.  The pop-up sprinklers may create run-off quickly so monitor them more closely.

Also, avoid watering during the heat of the day.  Watering before 6 am reduces evaporation and is less likely to promote disease problems than watering in the evening. Mowing tips for a heat wave

  • Taller grass helps shade the soil and hold in moisture.
  • Cut the grass so it’s 3 to 3½” high when you’re done and don’t remove more than one-third the length of the grass as that will stress it more.
  • Keep mower blades sharp so the mower is cutting the grass and not ripping the tips off.

All of these steps will help minimize the stress of a heat wave.  Please contact us at info@designscapes.org or 303.721.9003.  Thank you.

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