The effects of extreme heat on turfgrass vary depending on the type of grass in question. In areas like Raleigh and Charlotte, lawns are predominantly composed of cool-season grasses like fescue and warm-season grasses like Bermuda. Cool-season grasses like fescue are particularly susceptible to heat stress and often go dormant during the summer months. As the grass turns brown and dry, it can be tempting to keep watering it in an effort to revive it. However, too much water can actually be detrimental to the health of the grass, leading to fungal diseases and even death.
On the other hand, warm-season grasses like Bermuda are better suited to withstand high temperatures. However, even Bermuda grass can struggle in extreme heat. The grass may turn brown and dry, and the roots may become shallow, making the grass more vulnerable to disease and insect damage. To combat these effects, it's important to ensure your lawn is well watered. However, it's equally important not to overwater, as too much water can lead to fungal diseases.
In addition to watering, there are other steps you can take to care for your lawn during periods of extreme heat. One important consideration is mowing height. During the summer months, it's best to raise the cutting height of your mower to allow the grass to retain more moisture and shade the soil beneath. This will help prevent the grass from becoming stressed and parched. Set your mowing height to 4 inches or higher for cool-season grasses, and 3 inches or higher for warm-season grasses.
Another important factor to consider is thatch build-up. Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass stems, roots, and other organic debris that accumulates between the soil surface and the green blades of grass. Excessive amounts of thatch can prevent water from reaching the soil and lead to stress for the grass. During hot summer months, it's important to conduct regular thatch removal to ensure your lawn is getting enough water.
Another key factor to consider is fertilization. During the summer months, it's best to reduce the amount of fertilizer you apply to your lawn. While a light dose of fertilizer can help keep grass healthy and green, over-fertilizing may lead to burning and wilting. It's also important to note that during periods of extreme heat, any fertilizer you do use should be water-soluble. This will maximize absorption and help keep your lawn in tip-top shape.
Another important consideration is the use of lawn fertilizers. While fertilizers can be beneficial for promoting healthy growth, they can also be harmful during periods of extreme heat. Fertilizers can cause the grass to grow faster than usual, which can increase water demand and make the grass more vulnerable to heat stress. It's essential to use fertilizers appropriately and not to over-fertilize during periods of extreme heat.
Caring for your lawn during periods of extreme heat requires careful attention and a proactive approach. By understanding the effects of high temperatures on your lawn and taking steps to mitigate them, you can keep your lawn healthy and green throughout the summer months. From proper watering to appropriate mowing and fertilizing practices, there are many ways you can help your lawn thrive even in the face of record-setting temperatures. As a homeowner, investing in expert lawn care in Raleigh and Charlotte, NC is the best way to ensure your lawn remains healthy, green, and beautiful all year round.