How to grow grass in hot, dry weather: 6 top tips for a luscious lawn when it's warm

Learn how to grow grass in hot, dry weather for a gorgeous stretch of green all summer long

lawn with climbing rose
(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you live somewhere that's always warm or are experiencing a heatwave, our tips on how to grow grass in hot, dry weather may come in useful. 

For many gardeners, a pristine lawn can instill a sense of pride – and so it should: they are a labor of love after all. But most will also know that harsh sunshine, a lack of rain, and high temperatures can make it trickier to achieve a luscious stretch of green. And if you're not equipped with the lawn care tips to deal with such climates, you can quickly end up with a dead, yellowing patch in your plot. 

We're here to help, with simple advice that will keep your garden's grass looking great throughout summer.

6 tips for how to grow grass in hot, dry weather

Whatever the size and shape of your lawn, an extra bit of TLC can go a long way in keeping it looking beautiful year-round.

1. Pick a heat-tolerant type of turf

The first factor in keeping a lawn looking tip-top during hot weather is to choose a grass seed with a suitable hardiness rating.

You can get both cool-season and warm-season grass seed – the latter being more tolerant to heat. Popular varieties of warm-season grass include Bermuda grass and buffalo grass.

However, be aware that some warm-season grasses don't do so well once temperatures drop, which is where cool-season grasses thrive. Because of this, if you live somewhere where the weather shifts depending on the seasons and are planting grass seed, you can combine both cool- and warm-weather varieties for a more reliably luscious lawn all year.

If you're a fan of wildlife garden ideas, you could also try adding microclovers into your lawn seed mix, as recommended by the RHS (opens in new tab). This will increase the lawn's drought resistance. Wildflower seeds will do the same – and both are good for welcoming pollinators to your plot.

wildflowers

Mixing wildflower seeds into your lawn will make it more tolerant to drought and is great for wildlife, too

(Image credit: Michael Wheatley/Alamy Stock Photo)

2. Provide plenty of water

As with most plants, it's important to keep your lawn hydrated, especially when temperatures are high.

'Ideally, you should be watering it early in the morning before the main heat of the day,' advises Carlos Real, Lawn Care Expert and Managing Director of TotalLawn (opens in new tab).

'When watering, think about it more like soaking the soil, rather than watering the grass blades. It is very hard to over-water your lawn, so don't hold back,' he adds. Do this at least three times a week.

There is a simple test you can do to check that your lawn is hydrated enough, explains Chris McIlroy, lawn expert at The Grass People (opens in new tab). 'To do this, drive a screwdriver into the soil. If it can reach up to 6 or 7 inches deep it's perfect – if not, keep watering.'

Investing in one of the best garden sprinklers is a great approach to this as it takes out all the hard work on your behalf. You can even combine it with a timer so that it automatically activates in the morning – handy if you haven't got time to do it yourself.

garden sprinkler on lawn

A sprinkler will help keep your grass hydrated

(Image credit: Dmitrii Pridannikov/Alamy Stock Photo)

3. Mow your lawn less in hot weather

'If you can't commit to solidly watering your lawn, it's best to avoid mowing too,' says Carlos. 'That's because heat causes additional stress on the lawn, and mowing will only add to this as it tries to recover.'

If you are watering it frequently, you can continue to mow your lawn as regularly as usual, although QVC (opens in new tab)'s gardening expert Mark Lane advises keeping it on a higher setting. Investing in one of the best lawn mowers will help get the results you're after.

'Ideally, mow so that the clippings fall onto the lawn, as this will help conserve water and feed the lawn naturally,' Mark adds. Ensure you've got rid of lawn weeds first though, otherwise you risk spreading them around.

mowing lawn in summer

Mow your lawn on a higher setting in hot weather

(Image credit: Cultura RM Exclusive/Stephen Lux/Image Source)

4. Use a seasonal fertilizer

Fertilizing plants can encourage them to grow healthy and strong, and grass is no exception. Be sure to use a season-appropriate feed, however, as you will find both spring/summer and autumn lawn fertilizers available.

Most will require watering in to be effective, which will also reduce the risk of them burning your lawn in the hot sun. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, as over-feeding, as well as incorrect application, can also damage your grass.

fertilizing lawn

Apply your fertilizer according to the instructions

(Image credit: Robin Gentry/Alamy Stock Photo)

5. Reduce foot traffic

If your lawn is showing signs of stress in the heat, it's best to avoid walking over it unnecessarily. Doing so will only compact the dry soil, making it more difficult for the grass to soak up moisture.

Creating sturdy garden paths from A to B will provide a stylish and practical way to journey around your plot until your grass is looking strong and healthy again.

bench on lawn in summer garden

Keeping off the grass in long periods of heat and drought will help it stay healthy

(Image credit: Elizabeth Debenham/Alamy Stock Photo)

6. Keep on top of lawn maintenance all year

The best way to prepare your lawn for hot weather is to keep up a good maintenance routine all through the year. This will ensure it's in the best condition to deal with bouts of environmental stress and should bounce back easier.

Lawn care tasks include scarification and aeration, which will help the roots absorb all the water they need, as well as mowing the lawn properly and raking up leaves in the fall. Our guides on autumn lawn care and spring lawn care have lots of useful info.

lawn with climbing rose

Follow a year-round lawn maintenance routine and you'll be rewarded with lusher grass

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Alamy Stock Photo)

How can you tell if your lawn is suffering from heat stress?

Discoloration of your lawn can be a telltale sign that you should try some of our tips on how to grow grass in hot, dry weather. 

According to the experts at Lawn Doctor (opens in new tab), it can turn a grayish or darker-green tone before changing to brown. However, brown grass can also be caused by lawn grubs damaging the roots, and even dog urine (although, as our guide on how to grow grass with dogs explains, there are ways around this).

Lawn Doctor also explains that another way to tell that your lawn is suffering from the heat is if footprints stay visible on the grass for hours after walking on it.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day.