It’s July, it’s hot, and unless you have been one of the fortunate ones to have a pop-up shower lately, it’s pretty dry too. The temperatures in the upper 90’s, and a heat index approaching 110 degrees is making it pretty rough for our LawnAmerica guys out treating lawns. It’s making it tough on turfgrasses as well.
Warm season grasses and cool season grasses each react to the summer differently. Today we are going to discuss warm season turf. In our next blog, we will cover cool season turf.
Warm season turfs such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass don’t mind the heat so much and actually thrive in the summer heat as long as they are adequately maintained and irrigated.
Irrigation can be a challenge in this heat, but maintaining a supply of about 1.5 inches each week will ensure the plant has enough moisture to look great. Summertime in Oklahoma isn’t exactly known for Mother Nature helping with rain consistently making the use of a sprinkler system or hand watering a necessity. Watering in the morning is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for early mornings, anytime during the day is better than not watering at all.
In situations where irrigation isn’t an option, and Mother Nature isn’t helping out, warm season grasses can begin showing signs of stress by turning a bluish-gray color before fading to brown. In cases like this, the lawn isn’t dying but instead is going dormant. This is a way for the plant to defend itself during times of stress to ensure survival. Once the stress of the heat is diminished or consistent moisture returns, the grass will resume growing as usual.
I don’t recommend allowing your grass to go dormant if you can help it as it will use up necessary reserves of energy breaking dormancy again and can leave your lawn thinner heading into winter which will impact not only the health of the turf next spring but the number of weeds present as well. A thick, healthy lawn will always be your best defense against weeds.
Despite the heat, warm-season grasses still need to be fertilized. Bermudagrass does exceptionally well when adequately fed this time of year. Utilize granular products with several sources of slow-release nitrogen along with natural organic content to help prevent burn potential and provide a consistent color without the excessive top growth that can come from the quick-release nitrogen sources.
It is also essential to maintain a consistent mowing schedule. Regular mowing helps bermudagrass to spread and stay thick. Mowing height will depend on the type of bermudagrass you have. The newer hybrid varieties can generally be kept shorter than common bermudagrass, but on average between 2 and 2.5 inches will provide excellent performance. Just be sure that when you mow that you don’t remove more than one-third of the plant each time. Removing too much top-growth will not only remove the color but will also stress the turf which is something we want to avoid. Contact LawnAmerica today for more information.