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Why is my Lawn Turning Brown?

We get calls during the dead heat of the Summer with the customers frantically telling us their lawn is dead.  Why is my lawn turning brown?!!  It is NOT dead.  The lawn is turning brown because it is entering a semi-dormancy state that cool-season grasses like fescue, rye, and bluegrass go into during high temperature periods.  These grasses do not like high temperatures.  Just like in the Winter with low temperatures, the grass is going into a dormancy stage to protect itself from the high temperatures.  You can fight this off by watering the lawn 60-90 minutes every 3-7 days or just allow it to enter its Summer-Dormancy state.  It will bounce back just fine when the weather cools off.  The ONLY time I would worry about the lawn dying off from heat is if we have a stretch of high temperatures over 85 degrees for 3 straight weeks without any rain.  Drought damage can begin to occur if these conditions happen.  Give the lawn an hour of water once every few weeks if we are having drought conditions.  Usually Mother Nature takes care of this for us.

Summer Mowing Tips

Mow High – Mowing high (3-4 inches after being cut) will promote deeper roots, a darker green lawn, less weeds, and a strong lawn that can handle stress from fungus, insects or drought better.

Sharpen Mower Blades – Doing this at least once a year will help the mower cut the grass blades instead of tearing them.  Tearing grass blades can open the turf up to lawn disease and also give it a tan color after being mowed.  This tan color is the tips of the grass blade having been shredded instead of cut.

shredded pics

Mow when it is Dry – Do NOT mow when it is wet outside.  This can promote fungus.  Do NOT mow when it is 90 degrees out.  This can harm and even kill the grass.  Mow when it is cooler out and the lawn has no moisture present.

Summer Watering Tips

Water During the Morning – Do NOT water the lawn after 3 P.M.  Watering after 3 P.M. can promote lawn fungus.  The moisture sits on the lawn through the night and provides the perfect environment for the nasty diseases to pop up.  Water in the morning to allow the lawn to dry before the evening comes.

Water Deep and Infrequently – Do NOT water everyday.  This promotes a shallow root system and fungus.  You want to train the roots to dive down deep between waterings.  You do this by watering 60-90 minutes every 3-7 days.  Giving the lawn 1-2 inches of water per week if it does not rain.  If it rains, you do not have to water if it has supplied the correct amount of water for the lawn.  Turn off your irrigation system if it rains or you could be over-watering and causing lawn disease.  It is very possible to over-water a lawn.

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