ALEXANDRIA, VA. – As temperatures rise, so should the care of your yard’s lawn and landscape. However, it’s important to ensure your yard is healthy before a heat wave hits.
“The healthier your grass, trees, and shrubs, the more resistant it will be to summer’s extreme temperatures. Lawns, in particular, that have healthy grass leaves and deeper roots are able to store more moisture,” says Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation, which encourages people to care for and use their outdoor spaces.
Here are a few recommendations on protecting your yard during a heat wave from The TurfMutt Foundation.
• Put the right plant in the right place. Always select appropriate plants and grass for your climate zone. This ensures the space is not only attractive, but also will be more likely to thrive in your microclimate, be easier to maintain, and will support pollinators and wildlife. Consider water, sunlight or shade requirements for your yard.
• Water at the right times. The best time to water the lawn and plants is in the early morning or late evening when its cooler.
• Don’t over water. It’s okay to make your grass work hard for its water. With little water, grass will send its roots deeper, seeking water. The grass then does a better job of sequestering carbon and releasing oxygen.
Also, most turfgrasses—and there are hundreds of species—will go brown during summer months where water is more scarce. It will “green up” again when conditions change.
• Know what type of soil you have. The frequency and amount of water you apply to lawns and gardens vary based on its soil, clay type, organic matter and the type of plants and grass. Some soil holds water better than others; water molecules cling to fine particles of clay soil than to the coarser particles of a sandy soil.
• Cut grass long. When mowing, don’t cut more than one-third of the grass height. By keeping it longer, turfgrass can develop stronger roots and a greater tolerance to heat and drought stress.
• Keep foot traffic minimal. For already stressed grass, foot traffic can cause damage. Keep people off the lawn while the heat persists.