Protect Grass and Lawn Care Equipment As Temperatures Rise

Whether grilling with friends or playing with your children and pets, enjoying your lawn is a highlight of spring and summer. When temperatures are mild and rainfall is steady grass thrives. As temperatures rise there are easy methods to protect your lawn from yellowing and turning patchy. Keep that delightful feeling of grass between your toes all summer long with a adjustments to your lawnmower and planning summer mowing schedules.

Adjust your lawnmower

Cutting grass is stressful on the plant. Sharpen blades, clean decks and higher cutting heights protect the health of your grass plants. Warm weather is tough on lawnmowers too.

  1. Raise cutting height. Taller grass recovers quicker by providing shade and holding moisture at the soil surface. Setting your lawnmower at a higher level during the summer protects your lawn. Be careful to never remove more than one-third of the height of grass. Cutting frequently reduces grass clippings into fine mulch and is less stressful on your lawn. Fine mulch clippings return the soil level providing nutrients and moisture to the root system.
  2. Vary the cutting pattern. Alternating the direction you mow your lawn prevents ruts and improves weak spots on your lawn. This is as simple as mowing front to back one week and side to side the next week.
  3. Sharpen or replace dull blades. A crisp cut reduces water loss on already thirsty plants. A clean cut reduces stress on belts, pulleys and engines. Find a full selection of blades for lawnmowers.
  4. Clean your mower of dried grass and debris. A clean mowing deck improves performance reducing grass clippings into fine mulch. Grass packed around the engine, pulleys or even under the deck poses serious fire hazards. Clean equipment using a flexible putty knife, gas blower, compressed air, pressure washer or just bucket of soapy water.
  5. Fill fuel tanks before cutting. Airborne debris likely freshly cut dry grass can contaminate your fuel supply. Adding fuel when your engine is cool reduces fire risk.
  6. Check your oil levels and air filter. Clean air filters and fresh oil keep engines running at peak performance. This means your mower is cutting at its best and ready to run during extreme temperatures.

Design a plan to reduce lawn stress

Knowing when to mow your lawn is just as important as how to mow your lawn.

  1. Mow early in the morning. Grass recovers best when water and nutrients are plentiful. This is why grass grows so well in early spring. Morning provides the most damp and cool temperatures of the day. Cutting when the sun and temperatures are high loses more moisture to evaporation.
  2. Watch the forecast. If you are able to mower before rain arrives, your grass will thank you.
  3. Avoid trampling highly stressed areas. Heat stresses grass. Next to streets, driveways and sidewalks grass often yellows faster than other areas. The heat from these surfaces damages the root system of your lawn.
  4. Mow gently. Often, we turn our mowers around on these areas. When possible, turn on the street, driveway or sidewalk. Always avoid making multiple passes over the same areas.
  5. Practice smart irrigation. If you choose to water your lawn, optimize the effectiveness of irrigation systems. Irrigating before sunrise allows water to soak the soil surface. Water is not lost to evaporation and runoff.
  6. Beautify with shrubs and trees. If there are areas that are annually plagued by high sun and poor growth, consider planting trees, shrubs or even hardscape features. Spring is a great time to plant. Removing highly stressed areas will promote a stronger root system throughout your entire lawn.
  7. Loosen mulch around trees and shrubs. After a spring and early summer of heavy rainfall, mulch beds are compacted. Loosening the mulch in these beds cools the roots of trees and shrubbery.