Summer Turf Stress

#WarnesHelpfulHints – Summer Turf Stress

As summer temperatures soar in Rapid City, SD, homeowners often face the challenge of maintaining a lush, healthy lawn. The combination of intense heat, drought conditions, and direct sunlight can take a toll on your turf, leading to discoloration, thinning, and even death of the grass. However, with the right strategies, you can prevent and treat summer lawn stress, ensuring a vibrant outdoor space throughout the hottest months.

Understanding Summer Turf Stress

Summer turf stress occurs when lawns experience prolonged periods of high temperatures, drought conditions, and intense sunlight. This can lead to discoloration, thinning, and even death of the grass. The key factors contributing to summer stress include:

  • High temperatures (above 85°F)
  • Low soil moisture levels
  • Intense sunlight exposure
  • Foot traffic and mowing stress

Addressing these factors is crucial to maintaining a healthy, lush lawn during the summer months.

Preventive Measures

Preventing summer lawn stress is the best approach to maintaining a healthy, lush lawn throughout the hot months. Taking proactive steps can minimize the impact of heat, drought, and other stressors on your turf. Some preventive measures include:

Proper Mowing Techniques

Proper mowing practices help reduce stress on the grass plants and promote a strong, deep root system that can better withstand summer conditions.

  • Mow at the recommended height for your grass type (3-4 inches for cool-season grasses)
  • Keep mower blades sharp to prevent tearing the grass
  • Avoid mowing during the hottest part of the day

Watering Practices

Developing a strategic watering routine is crucial for preventing summer turf stress. Infrequent but deep watering encourages deeper root growth, making the lawn more resilient to drought.

  • Water deeply and infrequently (1-2 inches per week) to encourage deep root growth
  • Water early in the morning to minimize evaporation losses
  • Consider installing an efficient irrigation system

Soil Preparation

Improving soil quality through aeration and top-dressing can significantly enhance the lawn’s ability to absorb and retain moisture during the summer months.

  • Aerate compacted soil to improve water and nutrient penetration
  • Top-dress with compost or topdressing mix to improve soil quality

Treating Stressed Lawns

Despite preventive efforts, some degree of summer stress on lawns is often unavoidable. If your lawn is showing signs of stress, such as discoloration or thinning, it’s essential to take corrective measures promptly. Here are some strategies for treating stressed lawns:


Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer early in the summer can provide the nutrients necessary for the grass to withstand stress and recover from damage.

  • Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early summer
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen, which can promote top growth over root development


Overseeding thin or bare areas with a drought-tolerant grass variety can help fill in gaps and improve the overall density and resilience of the lawn.

  • Overseed thin or bare areas with a drought-tolerant grass variety
  • Consider using a slit seeder for better seed-to-soil contact

Pest and Disease Management

Summer stress can make lawns more susceptible to insect infestations and fungal diseases. Monitoring for signs of pests or diseases and taking appropriate control measures is essential.

  • Monitor for signs of insect damage or fungal diseases
  • Use appropriate pesticides or fungicides as needed

By implementing these strategies, you can help maintain a healthy, stress-resistant lawn in Rapid City, SD, throughout the summer months. Don’t let the heat get the best of your outdoor oasis – take action to prevent and treat summer lawn stress today!

2680 Commerce Rd, Rapid City, SD 57701 located off of Deadwood Ave