Just last month, Minnesotans found themselves stuck in the middle of a heat wave—with some areas reaching 100° F. Though extreme temperatures are nothing new to those of us living in the Midwest region, it doesn’t make the experience any less stressful.
And that type of stress doesn’t just end with trying to keep our homes cool or our families and pets hydrated. Heat stress can also impact your landscape.
Like you, your grass, shrubs, trees, and plants are all living species. Which means when the heat goes up and the moisture goes down, they become thirsty, too. Also like you, they require a bit of TLC to make it through the dryer spells of the year.
Therefore, in addition to taking extra precautions for you and your family’s health needs during the hotter times of year, be sure you’re paying careful attention to your lawn’s needs, too.
Lawn Care During the Summer
As experts in organic lawn care, we often get asked for tips and best practices on how to maintain a healthy lawn during the dog days of summer. And one question on everyone’s mind is this: should I mow when it’s hot?
Before we can answer this common question, let’s first define what we mean by “hot” temperatures, or more specifically…what temperature is “too hot” to mow grass.
When temperatures go beyond 80°F, your cool-season grass may begin to struggle. And when high temperatures last for extended periods of time, it can cause your grass’ growth to slow down and its vibrant green color to fade. In fact, some cool-season grasses will go dormant during the hot summer months until early fall.
During a heat wave—a period of abnormally hot weather that lasts longer than 2 days—it’s recommended that you do not mow your lawn.
When is it too hot to mow your lawn
You may think that noon is the hottest part of the day, since the sun is at its highest point in the sky. But according to the Almanac, 3 p.m. is actually hotter, as the sun is lower in the sky, allowing its outgoing heat to be much greater.
You may also think that mowing your lawn in the early morning, when the temperature is cooler, is the best time to mow during the summer. However, that time of day should be reserved for watering your grass, especially during a heat wave or when your grass is heat stressed.
So, what’s the best time of day to mow a lawn in hot weather?
Plan to mow your lawn during the evening hours, after the heat of the day has passed. The temperature should be between 40°F and 80°F.
How to Mow Your Lawn During the Summer
Do you love the look of freshly cut green grass—with those perfectly parallel strips laying across the front of your yard? Most of us do. But it might surprise you to learn that when we enter those long, dry summer days, it’s best to keep your grass high and to change your mowing patterns. Mowing in different directions can help your grass grow straight up and stand tall vs. leaning one way.
Therefore, you’ll need to raise your mower’s blades, so you can allow your grass to stand tall and grow a deeper root system into the soil. This way it can access water and other nutrients. If you’re caring for cool-season grass, mow at a high setting, so your grass is at least 3″-4″ tall.
Also, be sure your blades are kept clean and sharp to prevent tearing of your grass, which is common during high temperatures.
How often you decide (or need) to mow your lawn will depend on many factors. For example, mowing every 4-6 days may be sufficient, but if your grass is experiencing heat stress or has become dormant, you won’t need to. The most important thing is to avoid cutting more than ⅓ of the blade off at a time. This is especially important in the heat of the summer.
Want more tips and ideas on how to keep your lawn vibrant and healthy all summer long? Contact our team today to learn about our services. Be sure to stay connected to our blog for more lawn care articles and resources.