Managing lawns in hot weather

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 24 January 2018 

With 3 days of 40 plus temperatures ahead of us, there are some things that you can do to limit the effect this can have on your lawn. Moisture management and prior planning are the secrets here.

In South Australia, most people either have a couch, a kikuyu or a buffalo lawn. These types of lawns are called Warm Season Grasses and as the name suggests are right at home in temperatures we receive in summer. Hot weather can’t effect these lawns  - they thrive in it so 3 days of extreme heat won't phase them. What will affect them is a poor level of moisture in the soil.

If you ensure that you have a good level of moisture to 75mm below the surface of your lawn, a heat wave like this won’t affect it. The lawn roots will draw on the water in the soil and it will be business as usual.

The biggest tip I can give you here is – don’t assume your soil is wet down to this level just because you watered your lawn. It’s a logical assumption but none the less, one that can lead to trouble for your lawn.

You may not have watered for long enough or you may have a soil that naturally repels water (very common). The point is, you should spend some time to understand how your soil accepts and holds onto water because one thing is for sure, soil rarely wets evenly.  In preparation for the heat wave, apply some liquid wetting agent  such as Paul Munns Betta Wet in the cool part of the morning and then water it in the same way that you would normally do so.  After this, get a trowel and dig a small inspection hole. Do this in several places and check if the water got down to 75mm. You may be surprised to discover that the water you applied penetrated less than 10mm which is a real issue when high temperatures quickly dry this out. Depending on what you discover, more water may be required until a deep soak can be achieved. The wetting agent will make sure that any water you apply penetrates evenly and quickly.      

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