Mowing The Lawn In Heat And Drought: 7 Helpful Tips

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:29 pm

When it is hot and dry in the summer, a lawn needs more care if it is to remain healthy and thus beautifully green. Since the lawn, unlike the gardener, can not move to a cool and shady place, the question arises:

Should you mow the lawn during heat and drought?

During prolonged hot and dry periods, which are increasingly common in our latitudes, a green lawn can quickly dry out and become unsightly. Moreover, since grasses grow rapidly and densely in summer when it is not too hot, regular maintenance is a must.

Mowing The Lawn In Heat And Drought: 7 Helpful Tips

One task of the garden owner in hot and dry weather is mowing the lawn. This involves cutting the grass no shorter than five to six centimeters so that it does not dry out so quickly. It is advisable to mow the lawn in the evening hours so that it can regenerate overnight.

The cuttings are simply left lying around. It serves as protection and as a nutrient store. Sufficient watering and fertilizing are also necessary to keep the lawn green and beautiful.

However, if the lawn is already damaged or even burned due to drought and heat, it is advisable to refrain from mowing the lawn for the time being.

What to look for when mowing the lawn in heat and drought? – 7 tips

Even in summer, the lawn is ideally mowed daily, as it grows strongly due to the heat. Optimal is a stalk length of four centimeters. Since from temperatures of 26 degrees plants reduce their growth and from about 30 degrees stop growth in part completely, it is sufficient to mow all, once or twice a week.

The cutting depth is increased to five to six centimeters in hot and dry weather. This makes the soil dry out less quickly and the lawn does not burn as quickly.

In general, there are a few points to keep in mind during heat and drought to keep your lawn healthy. You can do this with seven helpful tips:

Tip #1: Mow the lawn in normal conditions.

A dense and healthy lawn is created by daily mowing. Cutting the blades creates new branching and cuts off areas that should be producing flowers. As a result, the lawn is constantly in the growth phase.

According to the European Lawn Association, it is also possible to mow only every other day. The optimal length in normal conditions is four centimeters. It may vary depending on the lawn mixture, weather conditions and season. For example, in midsummer or fall and in shaded areas of the garden, the best mowing height is five centimeters.

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Tip #2: Mowing the lawn when it’s hot and dry

When it is hot and dry, the lawn is mowed less frequently and not too short. Now the gardener allows the blades to grow before cutting them back to a length of five to six inches. When the grass is longer, the soil doesn’t dry out as quickly and the lawn still gets enough moisture.

How often to mow in midsummer actually depends on the temperatures. Because from about 30 degrees plants go into a dormant phase for self-protection and stop growing. It may therefore be necessary to mow only every one to two weeks or even later.

When mowing, it is important not to clear away the clippings. It serves as protection from drying out and also as mulch. The nutrients found in the clippings are released back into the soil as they decompose, ensuring a natural cycle.

Even less frequent mowing during heat and drought does not mean that watering can be dispensed with. If dry or brown spots form, it is time for the gardener to water the lawn vigorously, preferably in the morning hours.

Tip #3: Fertilize lawn

A healthy, dense, green lawn is already prepared in the spring for the fact that it could suffer from heat and drought in the summer. Therefore, it is treated with a lawn fertilizer for the first time as early as the beginning or middle of April.

The second load of organic fertilizer is then applied in the summer. Now the experienced garden owner reaches for a high-quality slow-release fertilizer and thus ensures that his beloved greenery is sufficiently supplied even during heat and drought.

In autumn, at the latest in October, the last fertilization takes place.

When fertilizing, make sure that it is done at regular intervals and no more than four times per gardening season. The optimal time has proven to be a cloudy morning – ideally, when rain is forecast for the day. Here it is up to each person to what extent he trusts the respective weather forecasts.

In hot and dry weather, fertilizer is applied in the evening hours, and it is best to water thoroughly the morning after. The water helps the fertilizer get into the soil and to the roots of the grasses. Since fertilizers vary in application, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip #4: Water the lawn

Not only the garden owner has an increased need for liquid in the summer, but also his lawn, which can only survive if, like its owner, does not die of thirst.

If it is hot and dry for a longer period of time, the greenery needs additional watering. The amount depends on the weather conditions, as well as on the location of the plot. If the lawn lies in the blazing sun, it sizzles away and the watering water evaporates so quickly that it has no chance to reach the roots.

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Short watering is therefore not helpful, but rather a drop on the hot lawn. Especially not watering should be done during midday, when the sun has the most power. It evaporates the water on the blades of grass, which are damaged. When the sun’s rays hit a drop of water, it acts like a burning glass.

Lawns in sunny locations are preferably watered sufficiently in the morning. Watering in the evening hours can lead to the spread of fungi, as the lawn cannot dry properly overnight.

Ideally, even in midsummer, watering should be done only once or twice a week, for between 30 and 45 minutes. Then the soil can absorb and store the vital wetness.

Tip #5: Watering the lawn with a lawn sprinkler

Smaller lawns can be easily watered by hand with a garden hose. However, if the lawn has to be watered for up to 30 or 45 minutes at a time in the height of summer, it can become very tiring and tedious.

A lawn sprinkler saves a lot of time in this case. In addition, most models have a swivel function that allows you to adjust in which area the colleague should work. Computer-controlled lawn sprinklers with a timer are ideal. These can also be conveniently operated with a smartphone.

Lawn sprinklers not only save a lot of time. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to connect and flexible to use. They can be used to water lawns of all sizes evenly and deeply. However, they should not be used when the wind is too strong, because then everything may be sprinkled with water except the lawn.

Tip #6: Water the lawn automatically

You may be familiar with an automatic lawn watering system from the sports field. Unsuspecting, the automatic watering goes off and before you know it, you’re soaking wet. For home use, automatic watering is still just as convenient and just as fun.

Automatic waterers are great for larger properties and when the garden owner is away from home for extended periods of time. The automatic system has the advantage of being extremely water efficient. This is because it is only used when the soil is sufficiently dry, as the system constantly measures soil moisture.

With the automatic system, the sprinklers are recessed into the ground and do not interfere. However, the installation is complex and involves higher costs. On the other hand, installation via a system of pipes in the ground allows the lawn to be watered evenly.

Tip #7: The optimal lawn mower

The optimal lawn cut, especially in heat and drought, works only with the optimal lawn mower. Here, attention should be paid to the size of the lawn to be mowed, as well as the power of the device and the cutting width.

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Furthermore, the lawn mixture, that is, the types of grass should be taken into account. For a clean cut, the blades must always be sharp enough. Dull blades do not cut, but tear tufts of grass from the ground, which further damages the lawn, especially in hot and dry conditions.

Dull blades also cause a grayish sheen to form on the lawn after mowing.

The ideal helper when mowing the lawn is therefore a robotic mower. With these helpers, the cutting depth or time and duration of mowing can be set. Modern models can also be conveniently operated via an app (application) using a smartphone.


When not to mow the lawn?

It is not only heat and dryness that determine when to mow the lawn. According to the Federal Immission Control Act, it is forbidden to use lawn mowers in general and pure residential areas all day on Sundays and holidays. On weekdays, lawn mowers must stop between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

What does the Biodiversity Conservation Union recommend during drought?

During dry periods and high temperatures, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) recommends mowing the lawn less frequently or planting a wildflower meadow. This is because a short lawn is less likely to wear out during prolonged dry spells.

Those who allow their lawn to grow and tolerate wild herbs in the greenery have less to fear from drought. According to NABU, a wildflower meadow with plants native to the location can even manage without artificial watering.

Is a robotic mower helpful in drought and heat?

A robotic mower is the ideal helper for mowing the lawn even in heat and drought. Lawns develop best when they are mowed daily at a cutting depth of four centimeters.

From about 26 degrees Celsius the growth of grasses decreases, from about 30 degrees the lawn hardly grows. Then the cutting depth is increased to five to six centimeters to protect the soil from drying out.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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