I can't speak for everyone, but I take great pride in having a lush, green lawn. But recently, the hot Montana summer sun has put up quite the fight. Fortunately, you can take several proactive measures to safeguard your lawn from heat stress and ensure it stays healthy and vibrant throughout the season.

Watering Wisely in Montana

Water is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn, but it's essential to water wisely during hot weather. Aim to water early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are lower and evaporation rates are reduced. My tip is to look at when the dewpoint temperatures are closest to the air temperature. This helps the grass absorb water effectively and minimizes water loss due to evaporation. Avoid watering during the hottest parts of the day, as the water may evaporate quickly, leaving the grass susceptible to heat stress.

Deep and Infrequent Watering

Instead of frequent light watering, adopt a deep and infrequent watering schedule. This encourages the grassroots to grow deeper, making them more resilient to heat stress. Apply around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering sessions. This method helps the roots access water from deeper into the ground during dry spells, reducing the lawn's vulnerability to heat stress.

Utilize Mulch and Compost

Mulching around trees, shrubs, and garden beds can also benefit your lawn. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, reducing water loss through evaporation and providing a cooler environment for the grassroots. Additionally, incorporating compost into the soil improves its water-holding capacity. It adds valuable nutrients to support the lawn's health during heat waves.

Mow at the Right Height

Adjust your lawnmower to cut the grass at a higher setting during the hot months. Taller grass shades the soil, which helps to conserve moisture and protect the roots from the scorching sun. Mowing too short during heatwaves can weaken the grass and increase the risk of heat stress.

Aerate the Soil

Regularly aerating your lawn improves soil drainage and promotes root growth. Aeration creates small holes in the soil, allowing water, air, and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the ground, thus fortifying the grass against heat stress.

Apply Fertilizer Mindfully

Avoid excessive nitrogen-based fertilizers during intense heat, which can encourage rapid growth, making the lawn more susceptible to heat stress. Instead, opt for slow-release fertilizers that provide a steady supply of nutrients to the grass over time.

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