Summer Lawn Watering: Mastering the Art of Heat Survival

Watering Lawns in the Summer Heat

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

A thick, green lawn is visually pleasing and can boost your home’s curb appeal. Maintaining a healthy lawn goes beyond aesthetics, however. A well-kept lawn can provide several benefits for both your family and the environment.

For example, it helps to reduce soil erosion and filters pollutants from rainwater before it seeps into groundwater reservoirs. Additionally, lawns can cool the air around your home, reducing energy costs.

The Impact of Summer Heat on Lawns

The Midwest summer heat can devastate lawns if they are not properly maintained. When temperatures rise above 80°F, grass begins to lose its ability to photosynthesize effectively.

This excessive heat causes the blades of grass to become brittle and turn brown as they struggle to maintain their moisture levels. Beyond this increased brittleness, summer heat increases the risk of pests and lawn disease.

Insects like chinch bugs thrive in hot weather and can quickly decimate an unprepared lawn. Other Insects like fleas, ticks, and grubs (see picture) can cause havoc in poorly maintained lawns. In addition, overwatering can cause diseases to spread. Fungal diseases such as dollar spot or brown patch similarly spread more easily in warm weather when too much moisture is retained in the soil.

The Role of Watering in Keeping Lawns Healthy

Watering is essential to maintain a healthy lawn during the summer heat as it helps keep grass hydrated while combating disease and pest infestations that thrive under hot conditions. However, overwatering or watering at improper times could cause severe damage, such as fungal growth or wasting water through evaporation, without providing any real benefit. Understanding how much water your lawn needs may vary based on various factors, including temperature, humidity level, soil type, and grass species used on your property.

Effective watering practices will help you achieve a healthier green lawn while promoting beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil. With proper attention to watering, your lawn will continue to look lush and green even as the summer temperatures rise.

The Science Behind Watering Lawns in Summer Heat

The Basics of Lawn Watering

Water is essential for the growth and overall health of your lawn. First, however, it is crucial to understand the amount of water needed and how often the lawn should be watered.

Generally, lawns need about an inch of water per week, which can come from either rain or watering. However, it is important to note that this amount may vary depending on grass type and soil in your lawn. Additionally, lawns on slopes may need more frequent but shorter watering periods to prevent runoff.

Determining the Right Amount and Frequency of Watering

To determine the right amount and frequency of watering for your lawn during the summer heat, you can do a few things. The first is to check the soil moisture level by sticking a screwdriver or similar object into the ground about six inches deep. It is time to water if it comes out dry or with only a little moisture on it.

Visible signs that your lawn needs more water include wilted or discolored grass blades, footprints remaining visible in the grass long after being made, and soil that feels dry when touched.

Another method is considering weather conditions such as temperature and rainfall when deciding how often to water your lawn. Lawns should be watered deeply but infrequently to encourage profound root growth.

Ultimately, finding the right amount and frequency of watering for your lawn will depend on several factors unique to your lawn’s environment. By considering these factors and monitoring the conditions of your lawn, you can help ensure a healthy and thriving lawn all summer long. On the other hand, signs that you may be overwatering include standing water on the ground’s surface after irrigation and increasing pest activity, such as mosquitoes, since they like standing water.

Best Practices for Watering Lawns in Summer Heat

Timing is Key: When to Water Your Lawn

Watering your lawn during summer heat can be a tricky task. The best time to water your lawn is between 5 am and 9 am.

In the morning, temperatures are cooler, and there is less wind, which means that water will have a better chance of soaking into the soil rather than evaporating. Watering early in the morning ensures your lawn has enough moisture to withstand the hot afternoon sun.

If you can’t water in the morning, your next best bet is watering in the late afternoon or early evening before sunset. However, ensure you don’t water too late, as overnight wet grass can attract pests and diseases.

Techniques for Effective Lawn Watering

Watering techniques are critical for keeping your lawn healthy during the summer heat. Unfortunately, one mistake many homeowners make is watering too quickly and not allowing the water to penetrate deep into the roots.

Instead, use a slow and deep watering technique that allows water to soak deep into the soil. On average, water your lawn one inch per week during summer heat (although some lawns may require more). Slow deep watering will encourage the lawn’s root system to drop, allowing the lawn to stay green longer throughout the summer heat.

An empty tuna can be placed near where you’re watering – once it’s full with an inch of water, turn off the sprinklers. You should also ensure that there isn’t any runoff from watering as these wastes both time and resources; adjust sprinkler heads so they don’t overshoot onto sidewalks or driveways.

Avoid watering your lawn during the hottest parts of the day, as more water might evaporate before it can soak into the soil. Avoid common mistakes by following these best practices when caring for your lawn during the summer heat, and you’ll ensure that your grass stays green and healthy all season long.

Advanced Tips for Watering Lawns in Summer Heat

Using smart irrigation systems

A smart irrigation system is one of the most effective ways to ensure your lawn stays healthy during the summer heat. These systems use weather sensors and moisture detectors to monitor when to water and how much it needs, eliminating guesswork. They can also be programmed to water at certain times of the day and for specific durations, ensuring that your lawn is not under or overwatered.

Additionally, some smart irrigation systems can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app, which means you can adjust watering schedules and settings even when you are away from home. While they may cost more than traditional irrigation systems, smart irrigation systems will conserve water, reduce lawn maintenance costs, and save you money in the long run.

Choosing the right type of grass

Choosing the right type of grass that is well-suited for your climate is important if you want a healthy lawn during summertime. Tall turf fescue has been a Kansas City favorite since it can handle the temperature extremes that the Midwest brings.


Maintaining a healthy lawn during summertime requires careful consideration of several factors, such as grass variety, soil type, watering practices, and conservation efforts. Following best practices such as watering slowly and deeply, using smart irrigation systems, and avoiding watering at peak temperatures can help keep your lawn lush without wasting water. Slow deep watering will encourage your tall turf fescue lawn’s root system to drop, allowing the lawn to stay green longer. These simple lawn tips will enable you to enjoy a beautiful thick green lawn throughout the summer.

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How to Divide Daylilies

Stella D Ora Daylilies

Daylilies are one of the easiest perennials to grow and to divide. Fall is the best time to divide your lilies since they are finished blooming for the season. With very little effort; these beautiful flowers can be transplanted to new areas in your yard.

Their botanical name hemerocallis means “beauty for a day” because each daylily bloom only lasts for one day. Even if you do not have a green thumb you will be successful since daylilies can handle neglect, drought and other abusive conditions in the landscape.

They are truly a beautiful plant to have in your yard and are very easy to maintain and divide if you follow these simple steps.

Common Orange “Ditch” Lilies

Cut Back the Leaves

Cut back the leaves of the daylily plant so you can easily see the root base and also when you transplant it; more energy will go to the root system instead of it trying to keep the leaf alive. Simply take a pair of scissors and cut back the leaves to the third of its current size.

After cutting back the leaves; the clump is ready to be dug up.

Dig the Clump Up

Daylilies multiply by growing new individual fans next to an existing fan. As the clump grows; one is able to divide it to help that clump to thrive or to spread the color throughout your yard. This is done simply by digging up a clump with a shovel or fork. Dig wider than the exposed plant being careful to minimize the root damage.

Divide the Clump

Flip the clump over on a tarp and you can plant this clump as a whole or divide it with a shovel or sharp knife or dip the clump in a bucket of water so the topsoil separates from the roots making it easier to separate each individual fan. A healthy fan division will have the roots attached to it.

Use a shovel or sharp knife to divide your clump

Replant the Divided Clump

Morning sun is preferred but you new location needs 6-8 hours of sun. Most soils will work fine for your daylily, but they do prefer a slightly acidic soil that moist and well-drained. Depending what look you want would be how you will plant your new starts. If you are transplanting larger clumps; probably install them 24” apart. If you are planting several for a mass planting; install them 6”-12” apart. Either way, install the clump or fan so the crown of the leaf (where it comes out of the ground) is ½” to 1” below the level of the soil.

Use water to help separate each individual fan if you want more starts

Sit Back and Enjoy

Newly divided daylilies may not bloom the following season since their root system isn’t fully established or because of the stress of the transplant. Once your daylilies are reestablished; they will return to their full blooming potential and give you many years of lovely summer color. Once transplanted; you can now sit back and enjoy their beauty.

By Brian Hill


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It’s Time to Divide Your Iris Plants

Iris plants are a wonderful addition to any landscape because they are very hardy, easy to grow and will provide you with many years of beautiful spring color. Though a low maintenance plant, your iris plant will need some care occasionally. Part of its care is to divide the iris plants if they crowd other plants, if you see a decrease in blooms, if the plant becomes over crowded causing the rhizomes (tube-like roots) to start to heave from the ground, or if you want to add a start of your iris in a different location in your landscape. The best time to divide your iris is in late July or early August.

Iris’ are a nice addition to a landscape for early spring color

Dividing the Plants

To divide your iris plants, you can use a shovel or fork. Thin out your mass of plants by taking it out in one clump if possible. If needed, you can break or dig out the rhizomes in smaller clumps. Brush the dirt off without removing the little roots.

Break the clump down into pieces that are 3”-4” long, leaving a fan of leaves attached to the rhizome. Discard any soft rhizomes or rhizomes without any fans of leaves on it. Once the healthy plants are revealed and divided; use a pair of scissors (not your wife’s fabric scissors) to trim back the leaves about 6”-9” long (just don’t take over 2/3 of the leave off and don’t use your wife’s fabric scissors).

Trimmed 2/3 of the leaf back to prepare for transplanting

Transplanting the Plants

The iris plants are now ready to transplant to another location in your yard or pass them on to friends and family who will cherish them. Make sure the new location will receive adequate amounts of sun and the soil is well-drained. Do not bury the rhizome completely but leave the top of the rhizome showing at ground level and water two to three times a week until you see new growth.

After thinning and transplanting; the row will now have double the flash of spring color

Now sit back and enjoy the many years of beauty that you will receive from your iris plants.


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Bagworms in the Landscape

Bagworms emerging

Bagworms are native to North America and can be found feeding on many landscape bushes, evergreens and trees in Kansas City, but seem most fond of arborvitaes, junipers and spruces. The visible sign that you have an infestation of this pest is the presence of light brown cocoon like bags that are covered with what seems to be juniper needles (3/4”-2” long). These cocoons dangle from the branches like an ornament on a Christmas tree would.

Bagworms damaged this Juniper

From late May through June; the bagworms in their caterpillar stage, will poke their heads out of their bags and begin consuming their host plant. Evergreens will quickly turn brown and their foliage will disappear as the bagworm devours it. Left to themselves, if there is a large number of bagworms on a bush; they can devastate a bush within days, but they will not stop there; they will move on to another bush to do the same.

The best control of this pest is to manually hand pick the bags off your bush and either crush them or place them in soapy water to drown them. On larger plants and landscapes with multiple evergreens; an application of an insecticide will be necessary. Products like Orthene, Sevin or Bioneem can be used to help control the bagworms (Read and follow the label carefully).

The best offense against these destructive pests is to be proactive in your landscape in the spring and early summer, looking for their presence. Once you see them; start manually removing them or spray as necessary so your landscape does not suffer damage.

By Brian Hill

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Kansas City’s Lawns are Turning Brown

With the lack of rain along with the hot winds and extreme daytime temperatures; Kansas City lawns have struggled to say the least. Those that have been watering their lawns have found the need to increase the water intake. Even with the extra water some lawns are still stressed and are not as green and vibrant as they usually are.

Those without the ability to water consistently either because of not having a sprinkler system or the time to hand water or maybe even the budget to do so are seeing their lawns to start to turn brown.

When a lawn turns brown; it is natures way to save the root system. The lawn isn’t necessarily dying, but rather going dormant to protect the plants stem (stolon) and the root system.

If you decide to forgo watering the lawn multiple times a week and allow the lawn to go dormant (or if it has already gone dormant); you should go ahead and apply 1”-2” of water once every two weeks to make sure the stolon and root system doesn’t burn up. Lawns normally can survive a drought for a few weeks on its own, but it is getting past that period where the lawns will need some moisture to survive. Also, try to minimize the foot traffic on the lawn and if you do mow; never cut more than a third of the grass blade off and don’t cut the lawn shorter than 2 ½”-3”.

If you decide to keep pumping the water to your lawn to keep it green; slow and deep waterings in the morning hours are the best. If your lawn has blue grass in it; an additional short afternoon watering might also be needed to cool the lawn down.

So, if your lawn is turning brown; do not stress. Chances are you can minimize the summer heat damage on your lawn with little work and water, but if this heat continues, don’t worry; fall is coming. In the fall is the best time to get a thicker greener lawn by renovating and overseeding your lawn.

Everyone loves a thick green lawn


Dream Home Enterprises: Don’t let the name fool you. Yes, we started in the residential remodeling market in 2003, but found that many commercial property owners, managers and tenants were seeking after professional lawn, landscape and snow services. We took advantage of this opportunity so commercial properties could have a drama free full-service package that fits their budget.

DHE’s Commercial Lawn Division has been helping owners, managers and tenants of health care facilities, retail, restaurants, banks, churches, office spaces and HOA’s manage and maintain their commercial property here in Kansas City.

DHE provides a full-service DRAMA FREE PACKAGE for your lawn, landscape and snow maintenance. This frees you up on launching, managing or growing your business.



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