The Myth of Hot Weather Watering

When summer heat hits, many worry about watering their lawns when the sun is shining. The idea behind this is that water droplets act as magnifying glasses, focusing the sun’s energy and burning the blades of grass or leaves underneath. However, water cannot cause leaf scorch — meaning it’s time to put the magnifying glass theory to bed.

Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor, Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University wrote:

The Myth of Hot-Weather Watering “Watering plants on a hot sunny day will scorch their leaves”

The myth is as follows: if sod (or plants) are watered while the sun is shining, water drops that accumulate on the leaf surfaces act as tiny magnifying glasses, focusing the sun’s energy into intense beams that burn leaves. Furthermore, we’re told that since water efficiently conducts heat, wet leaf surfaces are more likely to burn than dry ones. This all sounds very plausible (it has the patina of physics, after all) and there is anecdotal evidence that seems to support a cause-and-effect relationship between midday watering and leaf dieback.

The Reality

This is one of those myths that refuses to die. Although most of the .edu web sites dispel this myth, hundreds of other domains on the web keep the misinformation alive. If your plants are showing signs of water stress in the middle of the day, by all means you should water them! Postponing irrigation until the evening  or the following morning could damage your sod and in extreme heat, it may not bounce back.  There are many causes of leaf scorch, but irrigation with fresh water is certainly not one of them. Hundreds of scientific publications on crop plants, turf, woody shrubs and trees have examined foliar scorch, and not one of them has implicated midday irrigation as a causal agent.

It’s crucial to watch foliage for signs of wilt. Once leaf tissues have passed the terminal wilt stage, no amount of water will save them. People that don’t recognize the signs of terminal wilt and add water anyway might then associate their midday watering with the marginal and tip leaf burn that follows. Again, consider the plant’s needs in terms of sun/shade requirements; a shadeloving plant in an area with high light exposure, reflected heat, wind, or temperature extremes is going to show leaf burn on a continuing basis.

The Bottom Line

• Wet foliage is not susceptible to sunburn

• Analyze site conditions to ensure optimal root and shoot health and prevent drought problems

• Any time plants exhibit drought stress symptoms is the time to water them

• Optimal watering time is in the early morning; watering during the day increases evaporative losses, and evening watering regimes can encourage establishment of some fungal pathogens

• Do not overuse fertilizers and pesticides, especially those containing sodium or chloride salts

Even the sod is excited about the World Cup!

Getting ready for the World Cup in the sod field Getting ready for the 2014 World Cup in the sod field


Too late?

We have been receiving a lot of calls lately asking if it is too late to seed or sod.

We recommend seeding between mid August until mid September.  This way, the seed has enough time to germinate and grow strong enough to survive the winter.  However, we never know when winter will arrive, so seed may still have enough time if planted right now … but do it soon.

Sod, on the other hand, is an established plant.  Therefore, it can be harvested and laid, winter can arrive the next day, and it will freeze until spring when it will begin to grow again.  The only thing to remember is the sod roots will not yet be established in the soil; therefore in the spring the watering schedule should begin as if the sod was just laid.

So for seed, as soon as possible; for sod, until mid to end of November.



Common Questions – Mushrooms

 I have been debating what to write about in our first ‘common questions’ entry, and have decided it is fitting to break the ice in the age old manner: to talk about the weather.  This spring has been inconsistent with both weeks that were hot and humid with thunderstorms, and then weeks that have been unseasonably cool with rain.   What has been constant is prolonged periods of wet ground, which is the perfect condition for mushroom growth.  Mushrooms love soil rich in humus and feed on organic matter that is decaying (especially old tree roots), and excessive thatch.  They don’t harm your lawn, and usually disappear once the moisture and/or humidity returns to normal.   If you really can’t stand them, a light fertilizing with nitrogen often helps, or regular lawn mowing.  If you want to find out if you can collect them for dinner – this is a great link for descriptions of common mushrooms.

Meet Our Family

Welcome to the first posting on the All Green Sod Growers website.    To start, let me introduce us: All Green Sod Growers is a family business, my parents Case and Bep, myself – Carla the oldest daughter, and my siblings Rob and Lia.  We all grew up here on the farm at 4100 Green road and literally learned to walk on the sod fields.  Currently, Rob lives here with his family; look for his daughter Sam on our home page ‘running’ in the field.  My father, Case, has been in the field for 5 decades and my brother, Rob, for his entire life.  Although, he did take a few years off in the early nineties to get his Horticultural degree at the University of Guelph, studying under Turfgrass legend Jack Eggens.  As our name clearly demonstrates, we are primarily sod growers.  Nevertheless, we are often asked for solutions to a variety of other lawn care problems from homeowners and landscapers alike on a variety of turf issues.  Therefore, we will use this blog to share all of our expertise and seasonal tips with you.

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