Is your lawn suffering from heat stress?

Posted on January 15, 2021 by Ashlee Hall

With the Queensland summer well and truly upon us, the temperatures (and humidity levels) generally sit pretty high for weeks on end - and a lot of us are lucky enough to be able to escape to an air-conditioned space when it truly gets unbearable.

But, what about your lawn?

Image courtesy of Lawn Solutions Australia.

Your lawn is subjected to all kinds of conditions all year round, and summer is no exception. From 35 degree days to 98% humidity to pouring rain, your yard experiences it all. And, unfortunately, heat stress is a very real result of high temps and summer weather. So, how do you manage it?

Signs of heat stress in your lawn

There are a few common signs and symptoms when it comes to your turf experiencing heat stress:

  • Loss of colour.
  • Blue or grey colouration.
  • Wilting.
  • The footprint test: If you walk across your lawn and there is a noticeable footprint left behind, then your lawn is likely lacking in water. If it bounces back, your lawn should be well hydrated. 
  • Lawn appears to be dying.
  • Dry and crusty appearance and takes on a light brown colour.

Dry patches and hydrophobic soil

As soil does not necessarily hold water evenly, if your lawn is heat stressed then it may have random dry patches as opposed to being dry everywhere. In many cases, this is because the soil in these patches has become hydrophobic and/or compacted or, in some cases, a pre-existing fungal problem could also be contributing to the occurrence of hydrophobic soil.

Hydrophobic soil can be exposed if soil becomes dehydrated, and stops water from penetrating properly.

If you are experiencing this, a wetting agent can assist. Wetting agents are like a detergent that attracts water to the surface of the soil, helping it to soak in and improve infiltration. This, in turn, reduces water run-off and encourages deeper roots which helps to make your lawn more drought tolerant.

In addition to a wetting agent application, you should also aerate your lawn. Aeration, whether it be with a garden fork or aerating machine, will help disrupt dry compacted soil and allow moisture to be absorbed down deeper.

Watering your lawn

When it comes to watering your lawn, making sure you water efficiently is incredibly important. 

Water is fundamental in order for turf to transport nutrients, maintain cell structure and utilise photosynthesis. And, a lot of the time, rainfall and/or soil moisture storage will do the job for you.

Warm season grasses like buffalo, couch and zoysia will go into dormancy during hot and dry conditions, conserving energy to maintain plant health. They will then recover and increase leaf growth again when conditions improve. But in some situations, or extended dry spells, your turf may begin to suffer further.

How often should you water your lawn?

This is a commonly asked question when it comes to lawn maintenance, and the answer depends on a range of factors including:

  • The overall health of your lawn.
  • The season.
  • The climate in your location.
  • Access to, and cost of, water.
  • Water restrictions.
  • Soil type.
  • Ability of the soil to absorb and hold water.
  • Lawn variety and its drought tolerance.
  • Environmental factors such as how much sun, shade, wind or heat there is in your garden and your area.

With these factors in mind, the best way to know when to water your lawn is when you notice the early signs of heat stress and to then act quickly. In the worst heat of summer this could mean watering your lawn a few times a week - it really depends!

When and how to water your lawn

The best time to water your lawn is either early in the morning or late afternoon/early evening. Generally, there is less wind and less chance of water loss due to heat related evaporation at these times.

If you live in a humid area, for example the Sunshine Coast or North Queensland, avoid late afternoon or early evening watering where possible as this can increase the chance of fungal diseases - early morning is best.

Overwatering is not good for your lawn, your wallet or the environment - in fact, it is a total waste of time and should be avoided at all costs. Long, deep soakings that occur less frequently will ensure your lawn develops better drought tolerance and saves water, as opposed to short sharp constant watering. Have a chat with Rosemount Turf if you would like to know more, or would like some assistance when it comes to choosing a suitable sprinkler for your yard.

The idea is to get to the point where you water less frequently but give the lawn a deep soaking. This kind of watering encourages deep root systems, which results in a more self-sufficient and drought tolerant lawn. As the water drains through the soil, the roots seek the water out deeper in the soil, rather than just hanging around the surface, which is what will happen if you just give it short, regular waterings.

If you are wanting to measure how much water your lawn is receiving, spread some empty tuna cans or catch cups around the lawn while irrigating. This will help you to know if you have even coverage and how many millimetres of water the soil is receiving. 

As a guide, 10mm is ideal for most lawns.

By looking out for signs of heat stress, watering effectively when required and taking action to improve soil permeability you can ensure your lawn will be able to beat the heat - exactly what you want for your turf!

References:

Resources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Questions?

Call us now on 07 5448 6398 or fill out the form below and we will get in contact with you.
Subscribe to the Rosemount Turf newsletter
You can sign up in the newsletter form below to receive the latest news and updates on all things Turf.
Non Contact Delivery

An important note to all our Rosemount Turf customers and followers:

We understand that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is having a significant impact on all Australians and that it is a difficult and unprecedented time at the moment. We wanted to assure you that health and safety are the top priorities for Rosemount Turf management and staff. There are certain measures that we have put in place to ensure that our customers and employees are safe. We are being vigilant with our office and ensuring all surfaces are sterilised and cleaned regularly.

We would like to remind you that orders can be made online or over the phone and paid for via credit card, so no cash handling is needed. We can arrange delivery and the placement of your turf over the phone with our administration staff when you purchase. You don't need to be home when it is delivered.

If you have any further questions regarding any of our safety policies that we have in place during this time, or would like to discuss some new turf, give us a call on (07) 5448 6398.

Rosemount turf along with Lawn Solutions Australia is reaffirming our commitment to consumers with our ability to produce and deliver high quality turf products to consumers. No contact is required during the ordering or delivering process.

info@rosemountturf.com.au07 5448 6398
Web Design and Marketing by
EnvisionWorks Logo
menu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram