For a healthy summer lawn, get to know the biology of your grass

Just as people need to keep hydrated, so too, does your lawn.

Keeping your turf healthy during the long, hot summer doesn’t have to be arduous. Just remember these key points: Water, water, water!

When to water, how often and how much are essential elements to keeping your grass in good condition. Hot weather means your lawn is working harder and is going through more water.

But, because weather in the Pacific Northwest can be fickle, you don’t know from day to day if there will be rain or simply heat.

So what do you do to keep your lawn from thinning or going dormant from not enough water, or conversely, getting diseases from too much water?

It’s important to understand the biology of grass in order to know why timing and frequency of watering are so important.

The root system of any plant is vital to its longevity because this is where nutrients and minerals that are in water are absorbed. The grass uses what it has taken in and disposes of the waste through the processes of photosynthesis and transpiration.

Like our skin, grass blades have microscopic pores all over their surface. These pores allow the blades to release the waste. The cycle goes on and on. When water is in short supply, the process stops, and your yard shows this by drying up and thinning out.

Now that you understand why watering is so important, you should also know how to help your lawn retain water for as long as possible.

One way to do this is by using the right type of soil. It makes sense that soils that hold water well, but also provide a good absorption rate, are ideal.

These are loamy soils.

On either end of the spectrum are the more problematic soils. Common sense tells us that sandy soils will absorb water quickly, but also lose it quickly. Likewise, clay soils retain water, but too much retention could be bad for your turf.

If you don’t know what type of soil you have, you can call a landscape professional to do an assessment. He or she can give you tips on how best to approach your lawn’s watering needs.

For example, most plants respond best to early morning waterings. Forget the short, sporadic waterings you may have become accustomed to.

These days, experts agree that a long watering in the morning is best. It’s also ideal to keep an eye on the weather, watering only on days when there isn’t sufficient rainfall to give your lawn what it needs.

So, as you pour yourself a tall, cold glass of water this summer to beat the heat, do the same for your lawn and you’ll both show the benefits of being well hydrated.

Call (253) 632-0381 with comments or questions.

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