Florida is called the Sunshine State for a reason. Most of us in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area have been enjoying the summer sun for a while now. While the summer rains do help keep our lawns green, that scorching sun can still take its toll on the turf. Here are a few tips to help you battle the summer sun to keep your lawn healthy and green during the heat.
It is better to water less for a longer period than to do shallow watering frequently. Repeated shallow watering results in short root growth, which stresses the grass blades when it’s hot. You’ll need to observe water conservation rules for your area for specific watering times, but early morning or late evening is best to prevent water loss from evaporation in the heat of the sun.
Mow in the Evening
Longer grass helps keep moisture in the roots, so leaving it alone during the heat of the day is beneficial. Mowing in the evening also gives the grass time to heal in cooler temperatures before the next sunrise. As an added benefit, it reduces the risk to you for dehydration or heat stroke.
Scalping the lawn in the summer allows the heat to penetrate easily and turns it yellowish brown. If you miss a mowing, don’t be tempted to mow at a lower height to make up. The general rule of thumb is to cut one-third of the grass height when mowing. Mow it higher than normal, then mow a few days later to the normal height. Scalping can also be avoided by keeping mower blades sharp and changing the mowing direction each time you mow.
To maintain a healthy lawn in the heat, you need to replenish lost nutrients to keep it green and growing. The middle of the summer is an ideal time. Fertilize after mowing and while the grass is dry. If your grass is yellowing, an iron application may be all that’s needed to green up the lawn. Check with local regulations, as some counties don’t allow the feeding of lawns during the summer.
Several types of fungus love the Florida heat.
If you notice patches of yellow that turn brown and spread larger, you may have the appropriately named brown patch fungus. This can be treated with fungicides that target it.
If you see small areas that first appear as dollar-size and then spread, the culprit could be dollar spot fungus. Since this kills the grass to the root, removing the infected grass and reseeding or plugging with new sod is your only solution.
You may find clusters of mushrooms in a circle, or a round patch of vivid green grass. Called fairy rings, these areas leach important nutrients such as nitrogen from the grass. Aerate and water regularly to improve the root health of your grass to crowd the areas out.
Be careful not to overwater your lawn, as too much moisture allows gray leaf spot and rust fungus to take root.
Don’t Waste Water
Summer in Florida means water use restrictions in many areas. Faulty irrigation systems are wasteful and costly. We service Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, and Citrus counties and can install a new irrigation system, or repair your old system, to make sure the water you do use in an irrigation system does its intended purpose to keep your lawn healthy all year. Call us to set up an appointment today!