Beat the Heat: How to Care for Your Lawn in Extreme Temperatures

Heat stress is caused by hot summer temps and days upon days of dry, arid weather. Even a healthy, tough lawn can take a beating in those conditions.

When your lawn is stressed by heat, it’s hard for it to take in nutrients.

And, bottom line, your lawn needs nutrients to survive. Before you reach for the fertilizer, though, think again; grass needs to take in a lot of energy to grow, and growing grass mid-summer could definitely stress your lawn out way more than it can handle. 

5 ways to help your lawn handle heat stress and drought:

  • Water your lawn between 6am and 10am. Any later and the water will evaporate before it gets absorbed by the soil or reaches the roots.
  • Water deep, always. Your lawn should get about one inch of water per week. And, be sure to water two or three times a week. To find out how long it takes for your lawn to get about an inch of water, the amount it needs per watering, refer to our lawn watering post here.
  • Set your mower blades on the highest level and keep them there, because taller grass grows deeper roots. Never remove more than ⅓ of your grass height at the same time. Also make sure your mower blades are sharp because dull blades rip into grass tissue and cause more stress to an already-stressed lawn.
  • Leave clippings alone. They act as slow-release fertilizer as they decompose.
  • Minimize the foot traffic your yard gets during the hottest months to avoid compact soil and beaten-down grass that can’t bounce back in the heat.

PRO TIP: As temps rise, keep an eye on your lawn for brown patches or what appear to be “dead” sections of yard. This may indicate the beginning of heat stress.

If not tended to, your lawn might try and defend itself against drought and heat stress by going into what is called a “dormant state.” In this state and under heat duress, your lawn becomes more susceptible to damages caused by insects, weeds, and disease. All three are very active in the summer months. Reading this in the fall, winter or spring? You can help your lawn get ready for another summer by aerating it. Especially if it’s prone to a lot of foot traffic or heavy objects that can compact the soil, making it hard for air to reach the roots. This’ll only make the heat stress worse. Was this past summer a practically hot and arid one? We recommend reseeding your lawn with drought-resistant seeds after the drought has subsided in the fall. Check in with your local nursery for what seeds work best in your neck of the woods.