How to Keep Your Grass Green During Tennessee Summer Heat

As you know quite well, the summers can get incredibly hot here in Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. While we can find respite in the air conditioning inside, our lawns have to endure the hottest of days.

As a result, growing grass in summer heat is no simple task.

We know that summer lawn care in Tennessee can come with a number of frustrations. While we cannot control Mother Nature, we can provide you with some tips that will help set you up for as much success as possible. The truth is, even healthy lawns struggle in the hottest of summers. But you can take some steps to keep your lawn in the best shape possible.Lush green lawn in Tennessee heat

Fighting Against Summer Lawn Care Stressors

One of the biggest problems with summer lawn care in Tennessee is that you’re faced with a multitude of potential stressors. The obvious one is the weather.

Your lawn may have to endure some really hot days and go long periods without ample rainfall. To determine if your lawn is browning due to drought stress, look at the “bounce back” of the grass blades when they are stepped on. If footprints appear throughout your lawn as you walk on it, or you see mower tracks after mowing, your lawn may be experiencing drought stress.

But lawn diseases and lawn insects are also major threats to your summer lawn. Brown Patch Disease
This is the time of year when summer lawn diseases (caused by fungi) can thrive. Diseases like Brown Patch, Fairy Ring, and Dollar Spot can be the reason why your lawn may be turning brown or experiencing discoloration.

Similarly, pests like grubs or surface-feeding lawn insects can also pose a major threat to the overall health of your lawn.
Lawn grubThe trouble is, when you combine a lawn that is already under stress from heat and lack of water with a pest or disease problem, the problem can go from bad to worse incredibly fast. That’s why it’s so important to keep your lawn as healthy as possible. The healthiest lawns are those that use a combination of professional lawn care while also employing proper cultural practices. Combined, these efforts are how to keep your grass green in summer.

Let’s dive more into the specifics.

How to Keep Grass Green in Summer

When it comes to summer lawn care in Tennessee, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Let’s look at each of them.

Proper Watering

In terms of how to keep grass green in summer, there’s no question that proper watering is at the top of the list. If you suspect some of your summer lawn problems may be the result of drought, you’ll want to make sure that you’re watering properly. Watering is one of those services that most people think of as a “no brainer.” But there are mistakes that can be made in terms of quantity, frequency, and duration.

Most lawns generally need around 1 to 2 inches of water per week for the common grass species here in Tennessee.
Proper lawn irrigation
A “soaking” is the optimal type of watering that should be performed, as opposed to occasionally watering here or there. The goal is to deeply soak your lawn until the soil is moist to a few inches of depth. The exact amount of time this will take varies depending on the size of your lawn and your sprinkler system, but could take 45-60 minutes on average.

We often find that many homeowners also overestimate how much water they believe Mother Nature put down during a rainfall. A heavy downpour does not automatically mean you can skip watering that week. Using a rain gauge is a good way to take the guesswork out of watering and know exactly how much your lawn is receiving.

Proper Lawn Fertilization

In addition to watering, proper summer lawn fertilization can also play a role in how to keep grass green in summer. Fertility will play a huge role in how well your lawn performs. Fertilizer provides your lawn with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are “primary nutrients” that lawns need to perform optimally. But timing is everything with this service. At the hottest point of summer, fertilization needs to be backed off as it will aggravate most turf diseases and cause more harm than good.lawn care technician applying fertilizer

Proper Mowing

A lot of people don’t realize how much added stress mowing puts on a lawn in the summer. In general, the cuts made during mowing puts stress on the grass. But if a lawn is already drought-stressed, it may really struggle to recover from those cuts.

The key is to mow properly. Mowing height is an important consideration. It’s healthier to keep your grass a little bit higher. The exact height that is ideal for your lawn will depend upon the primary grass type you have growing.

Here are a few recommendations.

  • Tall Fescue: 3 to 3.5 inches
  • Perennial Ryegrass: 2 to 2.5 inches
  • Zoysia: 2 to 3 inches
  • Bermudagrass: 1 to 2 inches

You’ll also want to be sure to mow more often so that you can cut less of the grass during each mow session. Mowing weekly is optimal so that you can aim to cut no more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. Cutting anymore than that puts a lot of stress on the grass.Master lawn mowing

Recognizing a Lawn in Dormancy

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that dormancy is a natural protection mechanism for grass to withstand weather changes. The temperature and weather patterns can greatly impact even a healthy lawn’s appearance. Cool-season grasses will go dormant during prolonged periods of heat as a matter of protection and warm-season grasses will go dormant during winter. The grass is still alive and will become green again when the correct temperature returns.

This brings up another point that grass type also has a lot to do with the color of your lawn. If you want your grass to remain green year-round, regardless of temperature, you can plant a mixture of both warm- and cool-season grasses.

We know that a lot of homeowners have a hard time distinguishing between dormancy and grass that has turned brown because it died. We have written an entire article on how to tell the difference between dead and dormant grass if you are unsure.

Choosing a Lawn Care Company to Meet your Lawn’s Year-Round Needs

When it comes to lawn care, each season has its own set of challenges and requirements. But whether it’s summer or any other time of the year, you want to know that your lawn is getting what it needs to perform its best. This boils down to choosing the best lawn care company that will partner with you on getting optimal results.

We know that you can’t be expected to know everything there is to know about your lawn, even for the services you’re handling yourself. That’s why we’re here for you. When you partner with Master Lawn, you never have to feel as though you’re on your own. We’re always here to answer questions.

Ready to let Master Lawn handle your lawn care needs for your Memphis, TN or Northern MS home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Image Sources: Brown Patch, Grub

Joey Steele, Lawn & Plant Health Care Manager

Since 2004, Joey has been using his B.S. in Landscape Construction and his turf and ornamental certifications to transform properties in our area. He loves seeing the fruit of his team's hard work and enjoys the many relationships he's formed since joining our team in 2008. He's an Olive Branch, MS native and enjoys spending time with his wife and three young boys, fishing and going to football games.

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