How to Water a Lawn During a Summer Heat Wave

By Brian Mounts | Mar 25, 2020
How to Water a Lawn During a Heat Wave

Summer, being one of the most extreme seasons of the year after winter, brings with it several dilemmas for lawn owners. There’s the question of how to mow, how to fertilize, how to prevent grass blades from going dormant.

But perhaps, one of the most critical dilemmas they face is the question of how to water. Evaporation, drought and parched lawns are common occurrences associated with the summer season.

When you begin noticing brown patches, your first impulse might be to keep watering your lawn. But overly wet lawns can be a disaster even during the hottest of days.

Irrespective of the burning rays, knowing how to water your lawn can save it this summer and keep it green, lush and healthy.

First Rule: Try Not To Worry About It

Brown patches can be a sad sight, especially if you’re one who spends time trying to maintain and keep your lawn green.

The point is plants normally go dormant during a heat wave. When this happens, the lawn turns brown.

However, it’s not something to be worried over. Dormancy is a survival mechanism for plants. At this point, they conserve energy by stopping growth. The truth is, it’s nothing permanent, and your lawn will definitely bounce back to its lush and green appearance once the rain arrives.

Best Ways to Keep the Lawn Hydrated During a Heat Wave

The summer heat can make your lawn thirsty. It’s very necessary to strike the right balance during such times, especially if you want to maximize rainfall watering. Here are some watering tips you might need this summer.

#1. Water Early In the Morning

The best time to water is between the hours of 4 – 6 am. At this time, the summer sun wouldn’t be out, offering ample time for the water to go deep into the soil. The water evaporates faster during the heat of the day.

Watering in the evening might seem like a good alternative as well, but doing so could give rise to the presence of fungus and molds.

This is because moisture doesn’t easily dry out in the evenings, and when left overnight, such wet areas eventually become breeding sites for diseases.

#2.  Water Deeply

As a general rule of thumb, it is always advisable to water deeply and infrequently. Deep watering allows the root to drink enough water. Deep watering will as well reduce the number of times the lawn will need watering.

During summer, the heat can get intense, and dehydration might occur, at this point, remember to water deeper, about six to eight inches below the turf’s surface. Just make sure the grass gets dry before watering again.

#3. Irrigate Using a Drip System

Achieving optimum results should be your focus during a heat wave. We’ve all agreed that what should be increased is not the number of times the lawn is watered, but the depth at which it is watered.

For maximum result, go for a drip irrigation system. This will ensure that water gets down right into the base of the plants, rather than just settling on your blades or at the surface of the soil. It will also reduce the moisture that’ll be lost due to evaporation.

#4. Try Not To Mow During Heat Waves

Summer can be s particularly stressful time for your lawn. Mowing can cause irreparable damage to the lawn.

It’s best to mow after the rain has fallen or after you have irrigated. However, to prevent your mower deck from clumpings and clogging, never mow the lawn while it’s still wet.  You could wait for it to dry out a little before going ahead.

Keep the ⅓ rule in mind. Meaning, don’t ever cut more than one-third of the lawn at once.

Also, if you want to reduce the stress faced by your lawn, mow your grasses higher. Mowing too low can expose the grass to the scorching summer sun, increasing the strain it faces.

Mowing your grasses about 3-4 inches higher van help your turf retain water as well as help it develop deep roots. Fact is, a deep and extensive root system provides greater opportunity for your turf roots to easily access moisture.

Even if the summer heat causes moisture to evaporate at the soil surface, it still is easier for deep roots to access water.

Also, keep in mind that mowing with blunt blades will do more harm than good. This is because rather than giving you a clean, swift cut, you’ll have a torn, ripped and shredded grass. And unfortunately, will lead to further loss of moisture.

It isn’t a bad idea to also mow your lawn late at night or early in the morning. Doing this will reduce the amount of moisture that’ll be lost. It will also prevent diseases that are associated with heat.

#5. Mulching

You could also use a mulch. Mulching shelters the soil from the intense blaze of the sun. Hence it helps to reduce the amount of water that is lost through evaporation while keeping the lawn moist.

Grass clippings work just fine for this. Not only does it help to reduce the loss of moisture, but it also acts as a form of slow-release fertilizer for your lawn.

#6. Consider Using a Rain Barrel

Hydrating the lawn, especially during summer when the portion doubles can take a considerable amount of water and at times the money. You might also want to maximize rainfall that comes every once in a while.

Rain barrels are designed to catch water from your roof and store them until you need them. You’ll be surprised at the quantity of water you could have at your disposal if you can do this.

Other Lawn Care Tips for You This Summer

#1. Stay Clear From Fertilizers during a Heat Wave

Synthetic fertilizers can do your turf a lot of harm during summer, especially if you’re growing cold season grasses.  When applied, your grasses are forced to grow and use more water.

This consumes more water and energy than heat waves actually allows them to produce. This can be really stressful and damaging for the lawn.

Also, during very high temperatures, synthetic fertilizers can lead to your grass burning if care is not taken.

If you must fertilize during a heat wave, make sure you go organic and natural. Slow-release organic fertilizer is a perfect alternative.

While cold season grasses are absolutely intolerant to synthetic fertilizers during heat waves, warm-season grasses may actually be fertilized during early or mid-summer, because at that point, the plants are still actively growing and can still repair easily whatever is damaged.

#2. Watch Out For Weeds

Weeds tend to thrive better during heat waves, and you don’t want them struggling with your already stressed turfs. You could handpick them or use a weed repellent to keep your lawn free from weeds.

#3. Lawn Dormancy

You could also let your lawn go dormant. Dormancy helps the grasses survive the summer season. Cold season grasses normally enter into the state during a period of prolonged heat waves. While this might look unappealing, it’s nothing to worry about.

You shouldn’t have a problem, so far as the lawn is already well established and you keep watering and irrigating every once in a while.

A high side with this approach is that, at least, you get to save all that time and energy that’ll be spent trying to ward off the effects caused by the change in season.

Conclusion

Summer and its accompanying heat wave will pass just like spring and other seasons did. It’s nothing to worry about, really. A few months shouldn’t damage your lawn beyond repair so far as you keep watering it when it gets thirsty. Watering based on the demand of the season is your ticket to having a healthy lawn all year round.