BOULDER – Mid-summer’s soaring temperatures and scant little rainfall put stress on Boulder County lawns, leaving them browning and dry.
But homeowners want a green landscape all summer long, even with rising water bills and concerns about water usage. A healthy lawn ensures front yard curb appeal and a pleasing landscape for backyard barbecues.
Here are two solutions to this dilemma, one to be implemented immediately, and one better done in the fall or spring.
Fall strategy: Create a low-maintenance lawn
Lush, green lawns account for one-third of the water used in America, according to Bradley Tuttle’s Real Estate Update. To turn your water-thirsty lawn into a low maintenance lawn, follow these tips offered by the Update.
Switch your grass type
Drought-tolerant grasses need less water than other types. Varieties that require less water include Zoysia, Bermuda and Buffalo grass. Bermuda requires the most water of these varieties.
Grow native grasses
Coloradans love the natural look of prairie meadows, which are a mix of native grass and wildflowers. Both grow well in the Colorado climate and make a lovely landscape that does not require watering.
Let clover take over
Attractive and charming, clover is a lawn alternative with a lot to offer. The list of attributes is impressive: grows easily, pushes out weeds, doesn’t require much water, does well in sun and doesn’t need fertilizing. However, it does not do well in foot traffic. Work around this drawback by creating a pathway or using clover as a bedding plant.
Summer strategy: Make the most of the lawn you have
Since the heat of summer is not a good time to replace turf, you can make your current lawn look its best with these tips from the experts at Today’s Homeowner.
Know your turf
Turf grasses come in a number of varieties, each subject to natural seasonal changes. You can best care for your lawn by knowing which type of grass you have and what to expect as temperatures rise.
Cool-season grasses: Fescue, bluegrass and rye are cool-season grasses, which grow best in 60-degree temperatures.
Warm-season grasses: Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede and Bermuda prefer temperatures in the 70s.
Lawns suffer when temperatures are 80 degrees and higher, and cool-season grasses struggle most. In hotter temperatures, growth slows, color fades and lawns show stress from traffic and weather conditions. Cool-season lawns may even go dormant in the summer. When dormant, the grass turns brown and brittle, but will revive again in early fall when temperatures cool.
Be water wise
Water your lawn at least one inch per week and increase that amount during severe heat.
Water deeply and less frequently to encourage roots to grow more deeply, which makes the grass more able to withstand drought.
Avoid evaporation and fungal growth by watering early in the day.
If you are not able to water regularly, do not water at all. This will allow your lawn to go dormant. Then, in the cooler fall weather, it will recover.
Mow for best results
During the hot summer months, raise the mower blade. For cool-season grasses, raise the blade as high as it will go so the grass length is 3 to 4 inches. Warm-season grasses do best at 2 to 3 inches.
Mow regularly to cut only one-third of the grass blade and avoid smothering the grass with clippings.
Sharpen your mower blades regularly for a clean cut, which is less stressful for the grass.
Do not fertilize when it’s hot
When done right, fertilizing can make lawns green and healthy. But you should stop fertilizing 30 days before hot weather begins.
Once the weather turns hot, never apply fertilizer. It can burn your lawn and create new growth that is too tender to flourish in the heat.
If your lawn is dormant, do not fertilize. Wait until your lawn turns green in the fall.
Use organic fertilizer. Not only is it less likely to burn your lawn with its slow-release of nutrients, it won’t pollute the environment.
For more details, see the full articles are at: www3.realtytimes.com/nl/nlpages208/2EcoFriendly.htm?open&ID=bradleyktuttle#NLContinued
By Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder