Pre-stress conditioning for a healthy summer lawn (6-8-09)
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For many of us it may be hard to imagine any shortage of water for our lawns following the heavy rains we recently experienced and the problems encountered just maintaining proper mowing heights. However, the heat of summer will consume this moisture rather quickly once we go a few days without a shower.
Since the weather is constantly changing, and we never know for sure if we will get adequate rainfall or not, we need to irrigate when needed with a long-range purpose in mind. We can help our lawns tremendously as the summer heat intensifies by beginning pre-stress conditioning now.
Pre-stress conditioning is accomplished by watering less frequently, but very thorough when we do water. A good thorough deep watering allows the water to infiltrate down three or more inches into the soil to encourage grass roots to go deep into the soil and become more numerous.
Later in the summer, as water becomes even more critical, those lawns with a deep, large mass root system will be better prepared to forage much deeper for any available moisture. To help prevent an ideal environment for diseases begin watering early enough in the day so that watering can cease in time for leaf blades to dry before nightfall.
Published June 8, 2009
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org