As the hot and dry summer progresses, many of us are coming face to blade with a fescue lawn that is turning tan and looks more like a wheat field than a lush green lawn.
After a nice wet spring, we are now faced with a Summer heat wave which is putting a great deal of stress on the fescue lawns. When exposed to long dry or high temperatures- fescue lawns are actually shutting down into dormancy to conserve energy and will turn a tan color. Some or most of the fescue can rebound after some good watering or cooler temperatures occur.
Ways you can help protect fescue during the Summer:
- Raise your mower cutting height- Fescue lawns ideal cutting height is around 3.5” to protect against weeds and stress. In cool Spring and Fall its ok to drop to 3” as it grows so fast. During the Summer however, you will want to raise the mow height to atleast 4”. The longer blade conserves more water mass in the plant tissue for a reserve.
- Skip mowings- when its extremely hot and dry even irrigated lawns do not necessarily need to mowed every week over the Summer. Skipping every other week will allow the fescue to conserve energy and water. It will not grow much from week to week anyway, so the lawn will not look as untidy as it would Spring/Fall. We tell our customers that its better to have a shaggy living lawn than a shortly mowed and tidy dead lawn.
- Water the lawn- Irrigate the lawn on your allowable days per town regulations. Try and water atleast 3 times per week in early morning hours so your lawn receives 1” per week.
- Avoid fertilizing and herbicides- Fescue does not need fertilizing during the Summer as it can promote fungus and further stress. Limit herbicide spraying for your lawn weeds to after its been irrigated and in the early morning or late afternoon.
In closing, we are in the extreme southern limits for suitability of fescue. Because it's a cool-season plant, it is more of a challenge to get through the summer. So taking precautions will help it survive better and longer for you over the Summer.