Common Lawn Issues During Hot Iowa Summers

Jun 14, 2022
Common Lawn Issues During Hot Iowa Summers

As sweet as summertime is, it’s not all ballgames, barbecues and suntans for grass. Only the strongest lawns survive an unpredictably hot Iowa summer still looking seasonably green by Labor Day.

On average, the sun beans toasty 83-degree rays on Iowa during the sweltering days of summer, per RSS And your yard, which never calls in sick or takes a day off, is out there every day absorbing all the good, bad, and ugly of the sun’s sometimes merciless heat.

And if your lawn isn’t receiving its recommended daily intake of high-quality H2O, it could be in for a long, hard fight trying to stay healthy, lush and full through the summer. As your lawn weathers a potential triple threat of attacks in heat, humidity and drought, the stressors can overwhelm your grass and soil. Health threats are lurking everywhere, from relentless weeds to troublesome pests, and to the worst sunburn color a lawn knows (browning).

“Summer brings quite a bit of stress to lawn grasses,” Today’s notes.

Knowing the Top Summer Dangers to lawns is half the battle to keep your lawn green and good during the warmest days of the year.

Lawn Browning

Don’t allow your lawn to resemble Death Valley. Dormancy (lawn browning) is your lawn’s natural defense to protect itself during the burning days of summer. As Iowa deals with another summer of below-average rain fall, give your grass the water it craves and needs. The best time to water is early morning. A deep watering of 20-30 minutes will ensure moisture reached all the grass roots.

“A lawn in summer heat is usually a brown lawn, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy or that it can’t rebound,” Gardening Know How’s Mary Ellen Ellis writes.


This invasive weed seemingly moves faster than lightning, which makes it very hard to control. Nutsedge reproduces and spreads in four different ways, allowing it to outbreak overnight on lawn. It gets its power from humidity. The good news: Nutsedge can be neutralized by a series of herbicide treatments, or in severe cases, lawn renovation.

Brown Patches

You go out to mow one day and wonder, “Hey, where did all my lawn’s green grass go?”

Brown Patching occurs on humid summertime nights. This fungus sprouts in brownish-yellow rings both small and large. Brown Patches are especially difficult to control because they affect all cool weather grass. A fungicide program can eliminate brown patches. Cooler weather can also offer relief to the Brown Patch Lawn Blues.

Summer Lawn Health Keys

To protect your lawn’s health during the high Mercury days of summer, be sure you are properly mowing your lawn.

  • Mowing high by leaving grass three inches high can shade and protect your soil and roots from full sun.
  • Mowing often can prevent tall, wet grass from leaving clumps of dead clippings that can smother turf and lead to fungus and weeds.
  • Mowing with sharp blades produces a clean cut and causes less stress than tearing the grass with a dull blade.

Even the most well-manicured lawns feel the pain of a long Iowa summer. Don’t be alarmed if your lawn shows summer stress signs.

“Once temperatures get into the 80s and above, lawns will begin to struggle a little with cool-season grasses having the hardest time,” Today’s Homeowner reports. “Growth will slow, color may fade, and lawns will show signs of wear and tear as they are less able to recover from stress and traffic.”

Don’t try to resuscitate a browning lawn by overwatering. This can over-hydrate and over-moisturize your lawn.

And most importantly, be in tune with what your lawn needs to survive an unpredictable Iowa summer. Your grass will tell you what it needs. Make sure you give it an open ear.

“Your grass can tell you a lot about its health and well-being, if you only know how to listen,”’s Jennifer Noonan writes.

So, if you’re looking to keep your lawn thriving this summer and need a bit of help along the way, Creekside Turf Management is here to help.  We can share our professional expertise for your lawn’s specific needs.