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Old 07-11-2011, 02:48 PM   #1
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Lawn and summer heat question


OK, so I have been struggling with this lawn since March (we moved in over the fall). Long story short, I just put lime down and used a company to spray the crabgrass (it was heavy in the back). I water for about two hours at least 3x a week. Now, I am noticing the grass is starting to turn brown (heat stress maybe?). It's been so hot here in NJ. I mow it high, about 3" once a week. I have not fertilized since May. Is there anything I could do to stop this "browning" process? It's not grubs or anything like that, I think it's going dormant to protect itself from the heat. Any fertilizers or anything I could do?

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Old 07-11-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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Lawn and summer heat question


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Any fertilizers or anything I could do?
DO NOT FERTILIZE: if your lawn is already stressed adding chemicals may make it worse. Adding lime can be risky in the summer months, especially if you didn't do any soil testing, but added lime "just because".

Some grasses prefer hot weather, others prefer cooler weather. Do you know what type of grass(es) make up your lawn? It's normal for most blues, fescues, and ryes to have a hard time in the hot/dry summer months.

Until you can identify the actual problem ( disease, pests, soil compaction, etc...), water is probably the best thing to give your lawn

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Old 07-11-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Lawn and summer heat question


What time are you watering? It is best to water early in the morning before the sun comes up to give it time to soak into the roots. You can also over water a lawn and that is just as bad as not enough water. Do a test of the soil ph to see what you need. You can buy test kits for not much money or there are places to take soil samples to have them tested. That should give you an idea of what your soil needs.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:32 PM   #4
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DO NOT FERTILIZE: if your lawn is already stressed adding chemicals may make it worse. Adding lime can be risky in the summer months, especially if you didn't do any soil testing, but added lime "just because".

Some grasses prefer hot weather, others prefer cooler weather. Do you know what type of grass(es) make up your lawn? It's normal for most blues, fescues, and ryes to have a hard time in the hot/dry summer months.

Until you can identify the actual problem ( disease, pests, soil compaction, etc...), water is probably the best thing to give your lawn
I pretty sure it is Blue Grass and Rye. It's really thin whatever it is. I don't think it's disease because the actual stem is in good shape (i think). It doesn't pull out, so I don't think it's grubs.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:00 PM   #5
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Lawn and summer heat question


Watering six hours a week seems excessive to me but then I don't know with what kind of sprinkler heads. As mentioned, you can over water a lawn with the main effect of plugging up the soil and denying aeration to the roots.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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Watering six hours a week seems excessive to me but then I don't know with what kind of sprinkler heads. As mentioned, you can over water a lawn with the main effect of plugging up the soil and denying aeration to the roots.
I actually just use a sprinkler head. I don't have an irrigation system. It's been over 90 here with a heat index over 95 and above for weeks.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:41 AM   #7
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I actually just use a sprinkler head. I don't have an irrigation system. It's been over 90 here with a heat index over 95 and above for weeks.
I'm in your general neck of the woods and we are dealing with the same thing. In the spring we had rain for about 58 out of 60 straight days...then the spigot turned off and it's major drought time. I haven't fertilized since early May because of all the stress. Most likely its just dormant and will come back when conditions improve. Keep up the watering...but you may need to water close to every day to get it to come out of dormancy and green up. Now conventional wisdom says water less frequently and deeper..which is great for completely ideal conditions....lots of good deep topsoil...no compaction....good pH...good soil organic matter content...and on and on.....but sometimes conditions require unconventional wisdom...IMHO.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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I'm in your general neck of the woods and we are dealing with the same thing. In the spring we had rain for about 58 out of 60 straight days...then the spigot turned off and it's major drought time. I haven't fertilized since early May because of all the stress. Most likely its just dormant and will come back when conditions improve. Keep up the watering...but you may need to water close to every day to get it to come out of dormancy and green up. Now conventional wisdom says water less frequently and deeper..which is great for completely ideal conditions....lots of good deep topsoil...no compaction....good pH...good soil organic matter content...and on and on.....but sometimes conditions require unconventional wisdom...IMHO.
Yeah, that's what I have been trying to do. I waterly deeply every two days or so for a few hours, both front and back. I will say, that out of the 100 or so houses on my section of the block, there are only three of us that have the majority of the lawn green.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:15 AM   #9
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Yeah, that's what I have been trying to do. I waterly deeply every two days or so for a few hours, both front and back. I will say, that out of the 100 or so houses on my section of the block, there are only three of us that have the majority of the lawn green.
Majority of the lawn green? You are doing better than I am !!! But I'm not watering quite as much as you....
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:32 AM   #10
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Majority of the lawn green? You are doing better than I am !!! But I'm not watering quite as much as you....
YEah, Im surprised because everyone around me (except my direct neighbor) is brown or noticeably going brown. I know you are not supposed to water at night, but I talked to someone at the Ridgewood Country Club, and he said he tries to only water at night and the grass there is immaculate. I turn the water on at 7 and shut it off at 9.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:01 PM   #11
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Lawn and summer heat question


I'm in NJ too with this heat. My lawn is cut high every week, and I water 20 minutes a zone x5 with rotors every day at 5pm. It is green, and is just enough to keep it green with the clay soil. It is as dry as a bone all the time no matter how much I water. My lawn is in the sun until 6pm afternoon, so it does get dry during the day.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #12
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I'm in NJ too with this heat. My lawn is cut high every week, and I water 20 minutes a zone x5 with rotors every day at 5pm. It is green, and is just enough to keep it green with the clay soil. It is as dry as a bone all the time no matter how much I water. My lawn is in the sun until 6pm afternoon, so it does get dry during the day.
Same problem here. Most of the lawn is in the sun all day and is dry all day. THis is the reason I water in the evening.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:11 PM   #13
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I know you are not supposed to water at night, but I talked to someone at the Ridgewood Country Club, and he said he tries to only water at night and the grass there is immaculate.
Another piece of conventional wisdom that is often misconstrued...the concern about watering at night would be promoting fungus. But when the daytime temps are in the mid-80s to upper 90s ..and ther's been little to no measurable rain for 6 weeks...there's little chance of that. More importantly....everything is a tradeoff...watering at night has the awesome benefit of having much more time to let the water soak in and get absorbed by the grass whilst it is not fighting the extreme heat of the day....that benefit FAR outweighs the miniscule risk of fungus this time of year. You are also not watering at a time of day when much of the water gets lost to evaporation. I grew up on a golf course...unfortunately lugging bags as a caddie instead of being a player. They all regularly water at night...there are good reasons for that.

Edit to add: With the conditions we've been having...if you did the "recommended" one deep watering a week....unless you had ideal conditions (amd maybe even with that) ...3 or 4 days of the blistering heat would STILL stress the lawn. Sure one deep weekly watering lets the roots go deeper and therefore promotes more drought tolerant grass....but that's under "ideal" conditions.

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Old 07-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #14
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Another piece of conventional wisdom that is often misconstrued...the concern about watering at night would be promoting fungus. But when the daytime temps are in the mid-80s to upper 90s ..and ther's been little to no measurable rain for 6 weeks...there's little chance of that. More importantly....everything is a tradeoff...watering at night has the awesome benefit of having much more time to let the water soak in and get absorbed by the grass whilst it is not fighting the extreme heat of the day....that benefit FAR outweighs the miniscule risk of fungus this time of year. You are also not watering at a time of day when much of the water gets lost to evaporation. I grew up on a golf course...unfortunately lugging bags as a caddie instead of being a player. They all regularly water at night...there are good reasons for that.

Edit to add: With the conditions we've been having...if you did the "recommended" one deep watering a week....unless you had ideal conditions (amd maybe even with that) ...3 or 4 days of the blistering heat would STILL stress the lawn. Sure one deep weekly watering lets the roots go deeper and therefore promotes more drought tolerant grass....but that's under "ideal" conditions.
I like your input. I have been tried to do 3-4 x a week of deep watering
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:07 PM   #15
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Lawn and summer heat question


So, is watering 3x's a week for 30 minutes sufficient (5:00am - 5:30am, Monday, Wednesday, Friday) when there is hardly rainfall? Or as people mentioned in this thread, is it ok to water at night 3x's a week for the same amount of time?

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