Want to get out of doing battle with the lawn this summer? Then ignore it, let it grow naturally and call it a meadow, a prairie or even a native American grassland, the National Geographic Society suggests. You'll be in step with a trend spreading across the country, creating what might be called preserves of basic greenlands, the society says.
As a matter of fact, cool-season grasses do not grow fast enough during hot, dry summer weather to require much mowing. Once every two or three weeks will take care of it, unless they are watered frequently. Unwatered bluegrass lawns may turn brown but will recover when the drought is over; this means that if you want a green lawn during a dry summer, you'll have to water.
You may water whenever the lawn needs it, whether the sun is shining or not. Wet the soil to a depth of 3 to 6 inches. This may require that the sprinkler remain in one place for several hours.
There's no need to apply water faster than the soil will absorb it: Water that runs off doesn't help the lawn. Sprinkling with hose in hand may cool you, but does little for the lawn. If it doesn't rain, you should expect to water the lawn every week to 10 days.
During dry summers, crabgrass is more likely to be a problems on watered than on unwatered lawns. But crabgrass is green, and unwatered bluegrass may not be.
Mow lawns of cool-season grasses to a height of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Close mowing, especially in hot weather, will weaken or may kill most cool-season grasses. Mowing to a height of 2 inches keeps down weeds. Crabgrass, in particular, can be reduces by the shading effect of taller permanent grasses on its seedlings.
Warm-season grasses, particularly Bermuda grass, require closer mowing: Bermuda grass should be cut frequently to 5/8 inch or less to maintain fine-quality turf. Other warm-season grasses such as zoysia,centipede, carpetgrass and St. Augustine should be moved to about 1 inch.