As we move into the heart of the summer, we need to be mindful of how we can better prepare ourselves to battle the stresses the summertime temperatures can bring.

What is summer stress? Summer stress can be brought on by abiotic stresses such as drought and heat. It’s also triggered by biotic stress, including illness due to fungus or pests.

First off, let’s talk about management. We can lower the risk of summer decline by being mindful of the following.

  • Too low mowing heights. Raise the height on your mowers so you can have a healthier, less damaged plant that can survive summer. Also, you never want to mow wilted or stressed-out areas.
  • Incorporate certain cultural practices such as needle tine aerification. It will help with compaction and allow airflow, water, and nutrients to reach the rootzone.
  • Make sure you are watering properly. Too much or too little can impact your turf conditions. Shallow-rooted areas need light and frequent irrigation instead of heavy and deep irrigation.
  • Herbicide and fertilizer applications need to be addressed as well. Stay away from fertility with high burn potential or overapplication. Also, stay away from most all herbicides when temperatures exceed 85–90°F.

Irrigation management plays a big role in dealing with summer stress. Water is critical and plays a big role in photosynthesis and respiration. Turf plants are made up of about 80% water. Decreased water can result in reduced growth due to a lack of photosynthesis and respiration. Planning an irrigation program and monitoring rainfall is key to maintaining successful turf.

We also like to incorporate a few foliar products to help with summer stress. One of the main ones is Foliar-Pak CSi L, which is 25% silica. It also has a specific amino acid that helps keep water in the cell and improves turf rigidity and turgor. CSi L pairs nicely with Foliar-Pak Foundation Forty. This product is a 40% amino acid. It helps to increase nitrogen fixation, chlorophyll production, and carbon fixation. Foundation Forty helps with the production and storage of carbohydrates, allowing the plant to build energy reserves that it can use as needed.

A great fungicide plan should also be in place. Pythium root dysfunction, Pythium root rot, and many other diseases are problematic during this time of year. A preventive plan to stay ahead of them is the way to go. There are many options to consider while developing this plan, including safe DMI fungicides. Consider the heavy hitters for Pythium control, including Segway, Serata, Banol, Lexicon, and Insignia, just to name a few. It is worth the discussion and the money not to get behind the evil fungus. 

These are just a few best practices to help cool-season turfgrass survive summer stress. The main thing to keep in mind is to develop a plan. You can always make changes along the way, but a plan in place will help for a smooth summer. Now is a good time to contact your ATS sales rep for help creating that plan.