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Kansas Lawns suffer from Heat in Johnson County

 

Lawns suffer from Heat – Now What?

 

If your lawn is like most in Kansas City then it is suffering!  The Hottest July in several years followed by the wettest Spring of several years has been particularly devastating to our lawns.  The super wet spring caused many problems from Lawn Diseases and reduced root mass.  This followed up by 16 days of temps over 95 degrees was a perfect storm of death for turf.

The good news though is that relief is around the corner and lawns are very resilient.  The course of action will depend on the severity of damage.  Most lawns I see will likely recover from some intensive care this fall.  Others, will need more than intensive care and will need to be reseeded.  How do you tell?  First – decide – what type of lawn do you have?  Fescue, bluegrass, or I have no idea.

Bluegrass lawn

If you have a bluegrass lawn then it will recover quite quickly thanks to the quick growing rhizomes.  If dead spots in your lawn are less than the size of a dinner plate then you can help it along by fertilizing 3 times this fall — September, October and November.   September and October I would use an organic based fertilizer such as Bradfields or Milorganite.  In December apply a mineral based fertilizer that gets it’s nitrogen from urea since the soil temperatures will have cooled off the microbes and they will not break down organic fertilizers.  In addition, I would aerate in September when doing your first fertilizer treatment. 

If damage is bigger than a dinner plate, then in addition to the above program you may also want to over seed with a  great gold-tag bluegrass mix. 

Fescue Lawn

Fescue lawns will not recover as quickly as a bluegrass lawn since they do not have the ability to spread by rhizomes.  However, if damage is limited to spots smaller than a softball then intensive care of fertilizing in September, October and November can be quite helpful.  However, if the damage is larger than a softball you will need to so some overseeding.  I will write an article soon on the best practices for seeding lawns. 

I Have No Idea

If you do not know what type of grass you have then it is probably safe to assume it is a Fescue mix and should follow the guidelines above.

Another part of this to consider is that if you have lawn that is more than 50% weeds, then the best course of action would be to completely kill the lawn and start over.  This is not as hard as it sounds and will give you a greats tart to a beautiful lawn!

 

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