Northeast Kansas is part of an area known as the transition zone, which means due to our cold winters and hot summers, there is no grass that is best adapted to our climate. Grasses are best adapted to either cool weather or warm weather, but not both. Most of the grass used in our area is best for cool weather, so during the hot, dry days of summer, even fertilized lawns will need special attention to avoid going dormant and turning brown.
If you choose to let your lawn go dormant, that is fine and it will green up once cooler weather returns. However, if we have several days with temperatures in the mid-90s to 100s and no moisture, the soil can actually heat up enough to kill the root structure of the plant. This will leave you with dead patches, so occasional watering is still needed for lawns in dormancy.
But for those who prefer a green lawn throughout the summer, here are a couple of things you can do:
- Water Regularly. Your lawn doesn’t need to be watered daily, even in the hot summer. Watering two or three times a week is sufficient. It is best to water early in the morning, which gives the water a chance to really absorb into the ground, instead of evaporating in the heat. If you are a Schendel SMART Irrigation customer, we will help you program your system to ensure your lawn is receiving the proper amount of water.
- Adjust Your Mowing Height. Keeping grass a little taller during the summer is key to keeping it green. Taller lawns tend to develop deeper roots and dry out slower than closely-mowed grass. It shouldn’t make a big difference in the frequency of your mowing, because even watered lawns tend to grow slower during the heat of the summer. We recommend setting your mower height to 3.5 inches for best results.