Even though Omaha has had a lot of rain recently, that moisture will be gone in just a few days with temperatures in the upper 90s. Now is the time to keep your lawn watered properly. Maintain your regular schedule, but if you see that your grass is starting to go dormant or the ground is getting dried out, add in a manual cycle. The easiest way to do that is to turn it on before you go to bed at night. Here’s how to tell if your grass is going dormant: If your grass is turning from a shiny green to a pale green, it is starting to get stressed. Watering every other day or even every day when the temperatures are this high helps keep your grass from being overtaken by crabgrass and weeds. Bluegrass does not like 100-degree heat. Crabgrass and weeds do. If your bluegrass goes dormant, the weeds will come in and choke it out or take over.
Even if you water every day, your grass could still go dormant. If that happens, it’s okay. With extra water and when the cooler temperatures arrive, the grass will green right back up for you. Think about what happens in the fall when your grass turns green and beautiful again like it was in the spring. Grass has a built-in survival mechanism; going dormant helps it survive extremes in temperature and water.
Be careful not to treat your lawn like a marshy marsh. That’s the worst thing you can do. Over-watering will create a thick thatch and prevent your grass from having a deep root system. If your feet are squishing around or you hear water when you walk through your yard, then you’ve over-watered. If you dig a 6-inch hole and can make a firm mudball, then you have plenty of water in the soil but not too much. But, if you can’t make it into a ball, if it’s squishy and water comes out, then you have too much water. Let the ground dry out some and then keep to a regular schedule of watering that doesn’t over-soak your lawn.
So don’t get behind on your watering when it’s hot like this. And don’t over-water either. Find the balance during the high heat. And when the temperatures cool back down, let your regular sprinkler program run. You can always add a manual cycle if you think your lawn is getting too dry. If you don’t want to mess with figuring out whether you need to water more or less, we offer a weather station that controls the sprinklers and that will figure this all out for you.
Now, go get an iced tea and relax!