Home Improvement isn’t limited to the interior – it also extends outdoors. More homeowners are seeking to complete the look of their homes by turning their once bare and uninviting lawns into functional and inviting outdoor spaces. Keeping up with a beautiful lawn through the long, hot Georgia summer can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to nurture a beautiful lawn all summer long.
Here are some tips to help keep your lawn looking its best in Georgia’s summer heat.
Choose the Right Grass for Your Climate
It helps to start with a locally adapted, disease resistant variety of turfgrass. Warm-season grasses, such as zoysia and Bermuda, are ideal in the Southern summer heat since they can withstand higher temperatures and have a higher drought tolerance than other varieties. If you are starting your lawn from scratch this year, be sure to purchase high-quality, disease-free sod from a certified producer, such as NG Turf.
Mow High and Mow Often
During periods of stress, such as drought and sustained high temperatures, increase your mowing height to help reduce heat stress.
No matter your grass variety, mow your lawn often enough so that no more than one-third of the leaf blade is removed in a single mowing. Cutting more than a third of the plant material at a time causes the grass to become stressed and more susceptible to disease and pests.
Be sure to keep your mower blades sharp. Dull mower blades tear that grass instead of cutting it, causing the grass to use more water and experience unnecessary stress.
Remove Excess Thatch
Thatch, a brown layer of primarily dead grass that accumulates in some lawns between the green grass blades and the soil surface, can choke your lawn by preventing life-sustaining air, water, and nutrients from circulating properly. Lawn thatch holds onto moisture at the soil surface, causing grass to develop shallow roots, which in turn makes your lawn less hardy and less drought tolerant.
The moist thatch environment also creates favorable conditions for infiltrating fungus, insects, and disease. Bottom line—if left unchecked, thatch can weaken and eventually kill your grass.
Dethatching promotes growth, so excessive lawn thatch should be removed during the growing season. If your lawn’s thatch layer is thicker than a 1/2-inch, dethatching is advised.
Proper irrigation is the most cost-effective practice that enhances turf growth. If you have an established lawn, it is best to water less frequently but deeply. Roots will only grow as deep as their most frequently available water supply, and deeper roots create stronger, healthier grass. As a general rule, your grass needs an average of one inch of water a week to stay healthy and green.
The best time to water your lawn is just before sunrise when the temperatures are lower, preventing water loss due to evaporation.