Heat Stress Tips

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.

how to spot heat and drought stress

When your grass is stressed, footprints that would normally spring back up stay down and limp for longer than 30 minutes.

As stress worsens, your grass tips will brown. At its worst, browning tips progress to brown patches across your lawn.

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

1. 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.

2. Water deep, always. Your lawn should get at least 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, refer to our lawn watering post here.

3. Set your mower blades on the highest level for your grass. Taller grass grows deeper roots and deeper roots access more water and nutrients for a stronger, more resilient lawn that can bounce back from heat stress. 

4. Never mow more than ⅓ of your grass height at the same time. Grass blades are responsible for producing food to meet plant needs. When too much of the blade length is cut, it is forced to draw on reserve energy stores stressing grass, stunting growth, and starving the plant.

Similarly, make sure your mower blades are sharp because dull blades rip into grass tissue and cause more stress.

5. If you have areas of your lawn that are struggling, try to minimize foot traffic in those spots while your grass recovers. 

rethink nutrients

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. 

drought dormancy

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”. The best things to do when this happens is to keep your lawn watered and stay off the grass as much as possible while it recovers. It’s similar to what you’d do if you got a slip and slide burn. 

planning ahead

Feeding your lawn the right nutrients earlier in the season will help your grass strengthen, thicken, and build resiliency to stressors like heat and drought.


If you have cool season grass, you can help your lawn withstand heat stress by overseeding your lawn with a more drought-resistant grass variety in the fall.