How to Take Care of Your Lawn in the Summer

close-up of sprinkler head on green lawnThere are many things that affect the health of your lawn from one season to the next. However, in the North Texas summer heat, there are 3 main things to be on the lookout for:

  1. Heat stress
  2. Chinch bugs
  3. Fungal lawn diseases

Let’s take a moment to explore each of these topics so you know how to identify and treat any issues you may come upon that hinder your lawn from being as lush and healthy as possible.

Heat Stress

Heat damage is a huge concern for Texas lawn owners. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to have healthy, green grass all summer long. Learn more about summer lawn care in our article about How to Keep Lawn Green in Summer Heat.

Grass Type

First on the list is grass type.The best grasses for the extreme Texas heat are St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia.

All of these grasses handle high temperatures well. However, it’s good to know the specific needs of each type, in order to provide optimal care and maintenance. 

Mowing

Longer grass is better in summer because it helps keep more water in the soil. Taller grass means deeper roots, and deeper roots are hardier than shallow roots.

Mow in early morning or early evening when temperatures are cooler. Don’t mow with dull blades because doing so creates openings on the grass that insects can get into.

The recommended grass lengths are as follows:

  • St. Augustine 2.5-3 inches
  • Bermuda 1.5-3 inches
  • Zoysia 1-2 inches

But in summer, since longer is better, keep all grass between 3 and 3.5 inches.

Always mow when your grass is dry. Slipping on wet grass is a leading cause of foot injuries.

Watering

Early morning or late at night is best because the soil is able to fully absorb the water. If you water in the middle of the day or afternoon, the sun will evaporate the water before it reaches the roots.

Water 1-2 inches about twice a week. Use rainwater to your advantage by turning your sprinklers off while it’s raining.

Fertilization

Because fertilizer is nutrition for your lawn, year round lawn care is key. Scorching Texas temperatures make fertilizing in summer very important.

Fertilizer helps grass to grow lush and green. It also replenishes nitrogen (which stimulates growth) and other beneficial nutrients.

On top of that fertilizer builds a deeper root system. Summer Watering and Fertilization has additional helpful tips!

Seeding

Seeding your lawn is necessary because it facilitates grass growth and helps combat weeds.

Chinch Bugs

If you have St Augustine or Zoysia grass, be on the lookout for chinch bugs. Affected grass will be dry and brown at the top, but lush and green underneath.

It’s a fact that chinch bugs show up early on, every summer. Chinch bug damage is often confused with drought problems or lawn disease.

There is not a specific shape or pattern to look for in your grass when diagnosing these pests.

Keep track of how much you water your lawn. Consider these bugs as a possibility if your lawn is being watered sufficiently, but your grass appears to dried out in places.

Adult chinch bugs have a black body with white wings and a white spot on their backs. Newly formed nymphs have yellow or reddish stripes on their backs.

These bugs literally suck the nutrients out of your grass blades, which is why the problem is often misdiagnosed with drought.

Fungus

lawn disease causing yellow patches in grassLeaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot disease is typically found in trees and shrubs, but it can also affect Bermuda grass, bluegrass, rye grass, and tall fescue.

The grass blades will have long brown spots with deep brown or purple edges. The infection will travel all the way down to the roots and crowns of the grass.

Things that cause leaf spot disease are too much nitrogen, high humidity, and extended periods of cool temperatures.

Gray Spot Disease

Gray Spot disease is a common lawn disease, which infects rye, tall fescues, and St. Augustine grasses.

Causes are shade, high humidity, excessive nitrogen, and compacted soil.

The grass blades will be whitened with dark brown edges. They will also look fuzzy when wet.

Dollar Spot Lawn Disease

Dollar spot disease thrives on rye, fescue, Zoysia, and Bermuda grass.

This disease is easy to spot because it leaves yellow, tannish circular spots on your lawn. It’s caused by moisture, thatch, and deficiency in nutrients (especially nitrogen).

Large Patch Lawn Disease

Large patch can be found on St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda grass.

Intitially, the grass blades are yellow, but they will become brown. There can be a small area of healthy grass in the center of the patch.

Outer edges of the patch will be greyish. Patches will be 3ft or smaller. This disease loves the hot, humid Texas weather.

Rust Lawn Disease

Rust lawn prefers perennial rye, fescues, and zoysia grasses.

At first the grass blades will have small yellow spots on them. Over time the spots will turn orange-brownish, hence the name, Rust Lawn Disease.

Look for clumps of affected grass rather than patches. Rust lawn disease thrives in drought and high humidity as well as developing from excessive moisture and shade.

Contact JC’s Landscaping today for assistance with identifying and treating all types of lawn fungus.

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