Summer in Cincinnati can be brutal. The oppressive heat and stifling humidity are unbearable some days. Our lawns also suffer in the heat and can quickly turn brown and die if not cared for properly. Here’s what you can do to ensure your grass stays green and luscious throughout the hot summer.
Don’t Cut the Grass Too Short
It’s a fact. Baseball fields and golf courses always have the best grass. It’s thick, green, and short. So while it might seem like a good idea to keep your grass short to mimic those idyllic grassy expanses you see on TV, it is likely to kill your grass more quickly. The soil will bake and dry out without enough barrier between the sun and the ground, causing the grass to get “crispy” Additionally, more length within the blades gives the grass more surface area to absorb nutrients to keep it healthy.
Instead, cut your grass longer during the hottest summer months to give your soil enough protection.
Never Cut More Than 1/3
If you’ve allowed the grass to get too long, it can be tempting to chop it down all the way in one mowing. However, this is a bad idea, according to NorthWest. Never cut more than 1/3 of the length off your grass. Doing so will cause your grass too much stress and it may not be able to recover. It could cause the grass to go into shock and die.
Life is busy, and if your grass has been neglected and has grown way too long, cut a short amount off first. Then, give it a week, and cut more off; this will allow the grass adequate time to recover before you mow again.
Don’t Over Compensate With Too Much Water
When you step out into that oppressive summer heat, your first instinct is to guzzle a whole bottle of water. So naturally, you would think your grass would need as much water as possible. t Actually, grass prefers deep watering less frequently rather than a little water all the time. It also prefers being more dry than wet, so giving it time between waterings is the way to go. Crab Grass Lawn says it is best to water in the early morning as well. This provides the grass with the moisture it needs while also giving the water plenty of time to soak into the soil before the sun gets too hot and begins to evaporate.
Don’t Mow the Lawn During a Drought
Even if the grass is getting high and ruins the aesthetic of your yard, you want to avoid mowing the grass during a drought. Instead, wait to cut until after a heavy soaking rain or after you’ve given the grass a deep watering. You should always wait until the grass is no longer damp so give it a day to dry out..
Mow During the Cooler Hours
Not only will mowing during the cooler hours help reduce the amount of your own sun exposure, but it also gives the grass time to recover before the day’s heat kicks in. Therefore, it’s best to mow during the morning hours or right before sunset. Typically evening mowing works well since dew on the grass in the morning can cause clumping.
Keep the Mower Blades Sharp
Dull blades are a very common culprit for grass damage. Without sharp blades, the grass gets ripped and shredded rather than a clean cut. This shredding then leaves the grass more susceptible to disease and drying out, causing more stress. All of these occurrences can quickly make the grass turn brown and eventually die. Bio Advanced recommends sharpening your blades for every 10 hours of mowing. They also recommend keeping a second pair of blades on hand, so you’re always equipped with sharp blades to keep your grass healthy and vibrant.
Don’t Remove or Bag the Clippings
It’s best to use a mulcher to chop the grass clippings and spread them throughout the lawn. Grass clippings are a natural slow-release fertilizer and can help create a healthier lawn. The clippings can also protect the soil from the hot sun and reduce evaporation, so rain and waterings are more beneficial since they are retained longer in the soil.
However, if the grass is extra long and the clippings are too thick, this can smother the grass and kill it. So be sure the layer of clippings you are re-depositing isn’t too thick. If so, be sure to bag any additional clippings to use in composting or use as mulch around your landscaping.
Avoid Excessive Traffic
When your grass is struggling to survive during the excessive summer heat, exposing it to a lot of traffic can be damaging. Avoid walking, driving, or allowing the kids to play on the grass during the hottest months. If there are paths you frequently take through your yard, consider creating a path with gravel, stones, or pavers. Dogs can also use the same path on their way out or back into the house. While it’s nearly impossible to train your dog to take different routes, maybe throw the ball on the other side of the yard, then choose a new spot the next day, alternating the wear pattern on the grass.
Clean Up After the Dog
It’s a messy and stinky job, but cleaning up after your pet will reduce the number of brown spots in your yard. With a quick pick-up every other day, you can protect both your yard and your favorite shoes!
Clean Up Toys and Outdoor Games
Outdoor games, slip and slides, sprinklers and kiddie pools, relaxing on the lawn furniture with a tall glass of lemonade or lounging on your favorite pool float are all fantastic ways to help beat the heat and enjoy the great outdoors during the humid summer months. It’s also an excellent way to spend quality family time, rather than sitting in front of the TV.
Just remember not to leave those things lying on the grass for too long. The plastic component of many of these items can heat up quickly in the sun and will quickly burn the grass. This causes it to die, leaving a kiddie pool-shaped brown spot in your yard. It can be annoying to clean up after every afternoon pool party and get-together, but it will ultimately save your grass.
Caring for your lawn can be hard work, especially during the summer when you want to avoid the heat, but if you follow these suggestions and work in the cooler mornings or more comfortable evenings, you can still have a luscious green lawn without worrying about sunburn.