Minimizing Heat Stress in Cool Season Lawns
Spring solstice will hit the northeast this weekend and temperatures may hit record highs this Friday. Spring landscaping will soon be in full swing. Because our cool season grass blends are one of our most popular products, we decided to talk about minimizing heat stress in cool season grasses. Summer’s warm temperatures will be hitting soon and part of dealing with heat stress in cool season lawns is preparing for that weather months in advance.
Start thinking about summer heat stress before summer.
If you wait until summer to deal with potential heat stress, it can be too late to save your cool season lawn. Minimizing heat stress in cool season lawns should begin months before the warm weather hits. There are two key things that can help in minimizing heat stress in cool season lawns. One is quality turf establishment, and the other is maximizing rooting in the spring.
Turf establishment in cool season grasses.
When getting your head start in keeping your cool season lawn healthy over summer, it is important to always have healthy turf establishment. Soil health determines the ability to have a foundation of healthy turf. Testing your soil before planting turf can determine its ability to establish seedlings. Unhealthy soil yields unhealthy turf. Soil should also be properly graded, and the irrigation system should be installed to always get water to where the turf needs it (or doesn’t need it). Overseeding and resodding in the early spring can also ensure that you are going to have good turf establishment before summer.
Watering cool season grass.
When summer weather rolls around, cool season grass performs better when it is kept on the dry side. Grass roots naturally shorten in hot weather. When this happens, increase watering frequency, and decrease the duration of watering. It is commonly forgotten by some lawncare specialists to keep the same irrigation schedule in the summer that they had in spring.
Watch out for summer lawn diseases.
Summer patch is one of the most common diseases that can affect cool season turf in warmer weather. Controlling summer patch should start when the soil temperatures reach about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can prevent summer patch by applying a fungicide every 28 days. Dollar spot and brown patch are also common summer lawn diseases but can be controlled with a broad spectrum fungicide.