Is Your Lawn Stressed?
June 14th, 2020
Looks like temps are heating up again. Your lawn might start to look brown or stressed, but resist the urge to simply water more. There are good reasons NOT to turn up the water until you check what's going on with the lawn. There are fungus problems that can turn your lawn brown—almost overnight. And if you crank up the water, you'll only make it worse.
When lawns begin to stress, the color turns blueish-gray before it looks like straw. If you walk across it and can see footprints 30 minutes later, it's stressed.
Try the screwdriver test
Use a screwdriver to make sure the soil really is dry. Push a screwdriver into the soil, and if it goes easily into the soil, don't water more. Let the soil dry out a little before you water next. Water-logged soil can damage the lawn more than letting it get too dry.
If you have brown patches and the screwdriver doesn’t go in easily in those patches, you may have a sprinkler problem that's keeping water from reaching that area. Don't make your whole sprinkler system run longer just for a few brown spots.
Test your sprinkler system
Run your sprinkler system during the daytime to see what is going on. The problem could be as simple as the sprinkler shooting in the wrong direction. Hot weather can reveal the weak areas of our sprinkler systems, and sometimes a little hand watering of stressed areas is all you need to do.
If you have to increase watering times in a heat wave, remember to adjust it back when temperatures cool again. Reduce watering times by running each cycle a couple of minutes less.
Reduce lawn stress with proper care
Water between 10 PM and 6 AM to lose less water to evaporation and to avoid fungus problems.
Mow the lawn a little higher. If you mow at 3 inches or a bit higher, the grass blades will shade the soil to retain moisture and reduce heat stress.
Make sure the sprinkler system is in top working order. Making simple adjustments and quick repairs ensures that your lawn is being watered properly.