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Grow with KARE: Lawn care after the hottest summer on record

While recent rains have helped some, there are a few things you can and should still do for a lush lawn next year.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — There was and is a lot of concern for lawns in this hot and dry summer. Even with watering, it can be tricky (and expensive) to keep a lawn looking lush in a drought. 

While recent rains have helped some, there are a few things you can and should still do for a lush lawn next year.

The fact is that grass has a relative shallow root system and has adapted to go into a brown, dormant stage under the stress of heat and drought. Weeds and native plants have much deeper root systems and have adapted to survive and even thrive in our current scenario. 

If your lawn is mostly Kentucky bluegrass it is more likely to fall into its natural dormant stage than a lawn that has more tall or fine fescue grass growing.  

While Kentucky bluegrass is excellent at recovering from a dormant stage, you might consider over-seeding with a tall or fine fescue this fall for a better chance at a lawn that stays green next year, especially in the driest and sunniest areas of your lawn. 

Other things you can do…  

Water for longer but less often, early in the day. A deep watering will have a greater effect than several shorter ones.  

Stop mowing! Or mow at the very highest setting you can. Longer grass shades the soil and helps keep moisture from evaporating. This can be especially important if you have a regular lawn service. 

If and when you do mow, leave the clippings in place. They act as mulch to hold moisture in. 

Don’t fertilize! Fertilizer can burn the already stressed grass. Wait until at least September to apply fertilizer. Sow now that the heat of summer is over, you can add that task back in if you'd like. And again, if you have a lawn service, have a chat with them about the schedule.