The challenges of growing cool-season turf in a hot climate

The majority of home lawns in this region are comprised of cool-season turf such as tall fescue or bluegrass. The ideal temperature for cool-season turf is 65-75 degrees. Recently, we have been in an extended period of 90+ degree days and the cool season turf is stressed. Major issues during this time are, inability to keep up with watering (due to evaporation) and severe heat stress created by high temperatures, which in turn make turf plants more susceptible to fungal disease.

Your lawn is not just a blanket of turf. It is made up of millions of individual plants. Fungi and turf diseases are natural and they attack stressed turf. Turf diseases are much like diseases we face with our health. We have a good understanding of them, but we still ask ourselves, why did it affect one but not another?

Turf diseases during the summer prefer hot, humid consistency. A general rule is when you have temperature and humidity combined to equal 150 degrees, you have ideal conditions for grey leaf spot, brown patch, Pythium blight, and many other turfgrass diseases.

Some may ask if tall fescue is the ideal turf grass for this region. My answer is always yes.

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