It's not uncommon for summer heat and drought to lead to a brown lawn. Although most grasses will recover and green up again once cooler weather returns, it may be desirable to speed up the process. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to both green up a brown lawn as well as to prevent it from browning in the first place.
1. Raise Mower Blades
A low-cut lawn may need less frequent mowing, but it also doesn't shade the soil very well so excessive moisture can be lost via evaporation. Raising the mower blade by an inch or so may be all that's needed to prevent dry soil and summer browning. Preferred mowing height varies by grass variety, so work with your landscaper to determine the height needs for the types of grass that make up your lawn.
2. Adjust Water Amounts
Drought and extended dry weather is a common cause of summer lawn browning. The key is to provide sufficient water without wasting any. Watering in the early morning hours, just before sunrise or at least before the heat of the day, ensure more of the water makes its way into the soil instead of evaporating. Further, lawns need about an inch of water two or three times a week, so make sure you run your sprinklers long enough to wet the soil thoroughly down through the grass's root zone.
3. Skip Summer Fertilizer
Fertilizing is supposed to green up the lawn, but it can backfire in the summer heat. Too much nitrogen during the hot, dry season can burn the lawn and worsen the browning out. Skip the midsummer application and wait until the temperatures cool and there is heavy dew on the grass in the morning, as this indicates that moisture levels have recovered so that the fertilizer won't burn the lawn.
4. Provide Midday Relief
The heat of the day, when the temperatures are hottest and the midday sun is beating down on the lawn, can be the hardest on the grass. Even a well-watered and cared-for lawn may begin to brown out due to the duress of the heat. Consider turning on the sprinkles for less than a minute if your area is under any water restrictions. The light sprinkling cools the lawn and helps prevent it from turning brown.
5. Aerate in Autumn
Finally, plan for next year's summer heat by aerating your lawn in the fall. Aeration service opens up the soil so that more moisture can seep in. It also allows air to circulate through the soil and to the grassroots. Both of these benefits will help the lawn remain resilient next summer so that the grass doesn't brown as easily.
Contact a company like Caballero's Landscape, Inc. for more help with caring for a summer lawn.