- Posted by Paul Mullen
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Look out! Summer is here with a vengence! The Charlotte area has had 100 degree record-breaking temperatures recently. Ice cream sales will skyrocket, pools will be crowded, and air conditioning units will be at full power. But as we all look for creative ways to keep cool, we thought you should be aware of what this type of heat will do to your landscape.
- Fescue turf WILL stress. This cannot be avoided. Since fescue is a cool season grass, it’s just not made to handle the hot temperatures. This grass type grows best in the moderate climate of fall and spring. What can you do to minimize the damage from the heat? Avoid over-mowing. Heat stress causes fescue to enter a dormant state, with the hopes that it will perk back up when the soil temperatures decrease. Mowing too often can break the weakened blades off at the crown instead of cutting the blades cleanly. This leaves you with a probability that it won’t be able to recover come fall. Since the grass is not growing as quickly, it is best to lengthen the time between mowings. Some lawns can move to an every other week mowing schedule without issue. If you have an abundance of weeds in the turf, you may need to mow to cut down the weeds (i.e. crabgrass seed-heads). If this is the case in your lawn, perhaps you should consider a lawn maintenance program like our 7 Step program to promote healthy turf and limit weed growth.
- Established shrubs should be able to take the heat unless they are diseased or stressed. Is it important that newly planted shrubs or trees get sufficient water. With our hit and miss rainfall this summer, regular watering will help. The key is to water less often, but longer to limit runoff and ensure a deep soaking to promote deep root growth. Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth. Deep watering encourages deep root growth. Make sense?
- Flowers need to be watered. Different varieties have different needs, so it’s best to know the requirements for your specific varieties, but unless you are growing a succulent garden (think cacti), they are going to need water. It’s best to water in the morning hours when the lawn is wet with dew. The cooler morning temps allow the moisture more time to absorb down to the roots. Watering done in the hot afternoon may evaporate too quickly. Watering done at night may increase the likelihood of disease because the plant stays wet for a longer period of time.
Those are the facts, folks. Our landscapes will struggle through the heat. Keep an eye on your pets when they are outdoors and check on your elderly neighbors. The extreme heat will not last forever.
The AA Tex Lawn Team