MILWAUKEE (July 22, 2015) — As we enter the hottest days of summer and many parts of the country are currently experiencing drought conditions, the outdoor power equipment engine experts at Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGG)want to provide operators with the proper knowledge to protect their yards from the adverse effects of dry weather.
The weather in the middle of the summer can become hot and dry for long spells and it is necessary to take proper precautions to ensure your lawn stays healthy. Even if you are not located in a part of the country that is experiencing drought conditions and water restrictions, the following practices will help promote a healthy and vigorous lawn.
The first step to ensure a lawn survives dry weather is to let the grass grow taller. Briggs & Stratton recommends keeping your grass no shorter than 3 inches, and to never remove more than 1/3 of the blade at a time. The longer grass shades the soil and helps reduce water loss. If the grass is too short, it allows the sun to dry out the soil and permanently kill the roots.
Whether using a push mower or a riding mower powered by a Briggs & Stratton® Engine, setting lawn mower blades to their highest setting will keep grass tall. Sharp lawn mower blades also help reduce grass stress and speed recovery/regrowth.
When mowing, Briggs & Stratton also recommends using a mulching option if possible (i.e. leave clippings in place). This provides coverage to help soil retain moisture for the roots and reduce evaporation. It also adds organic matter to help nourish the lawn over time.
“Cool season” grasses that can survive northern winters (such as Kentucky bluegrass, rye grass or tall fescue) don’t belong in hot, dry places. People in locations with warmer winters should consider “warm season” grasses that are drought-tolerant, such as Bermuda, Zoysia, or Buffalo Grass. These species are better adapted to high heat and require at least 20% less water than “cool season” grasses. But, it is important to acknowledge that warm-season grasses go dormant during the winter months.
Summer fertilizers should be applied during the first part of July. But, as the heat increases fertilizing is not recommended. Lawns naturally slow their growth in the heat and can’t effectively use the extra nutrients. Fertilizer just adds another layer of stress to the already overburdened lawn. Grass clippings from mulching will provide natural nutrients, so regular fertilizing isn’t recommended during hot weather. Hot weather is also not a good time to spray lawns for weeds. The weeds are being stressed by the heat and don’t take up chemicals effectively.
Do not be wasteful with water. Even the most drought stricken locations do not need daily watering. One simple test: If you step on your grass and it springs back, it doesn’t need watering. But, if it’s needed and not restricted you should give you lawn one long soaking once a week instead of frequent sprinklings. By irrigating with one inch of water, you’ll be soaking the soil to a depth of six inches. Water at this depth in the soil will not evaporate quickly, and it’s where the roots of the grass are located so it can be absorbed. Quickly spraying the lawn might perk it up briefly but most of that moisture is lost to evaporation and can never penetrate deep into the soil to get to the roots.
Additionally, it is best water between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. when it is most efficient. If you water during the day, you will lose half the water to evaporation. Watering in the evening and overnight allows the plants to rebuild their reserves.
Artificial grass is much hotter than natural grass and will still need water to cool it for use on hot days and to clean it, especially if you have pets.
About Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Briggs & Stratton Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include North America’s number one marketer of portable generators and pressure washers, and it is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden, turf care and job site products through its Simplicity®, Snapper®, Ferris®, Murray®, Allmand™, Branco® and Victa® brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents. For more information, visit http://www.basco.com or http://www.briggsandstratton.com.