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Have You Heard About La Niña?

La Niña's Cooler Weather Pattern (Source: NOAA/Mark Torregrossa|MLive)

La Niña's Cooler Weather Pattern (Source: NOAA/Mark Torregrossa|MLive)

La Niña and Michigan

It looks like the end of this winter's El Niño pattern is in sight. The Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch, which means that observed sea surface temperatures are cooler than normal. 

According to MLive's Mark Torregrossa, this shift could affect Michigan by causing warmer than average temperatures. He states, "eight out of the nine summers when El Niño transitioned to La Niña saw Michigan have a warmer than normal summer. The one cooler than normal summer wasn't that cool. 1970 was six-tenths of a degree below average, which is considered near normal." He goes on to mention that, "seven of those summers were drier than normal." 

La Niña and Your Lawn

If La Niña causes Michigan to experience the warm, dry summer that Mark Torregrossa is predicting, it could translate to a dry, brown lawn. However, there are some things you can do to protect it:

Apply a fertilization treatment now. The better nourished your lawn is now, the better prepared it will be to withstand higher temperatures during the summer months.  Fertilization during warmer periods results in slower results, so it is best to start your fertilization treatment as early as possible. If you were on the fence about this, now is a good time get started. Call us if you would like to schedule a treatment. 

Water Your Lawn. An obvious, but important, thing you can do to protect your lawn is to water it. As a general rule, your lawn needs between 1-1/2" - 2" of water a week, including rainfall. Additionally, in periods of high heat and low rainfall, you will want to water your lawn in the morning as opposed to the night. This will prevent the water droplets from magnifying the sun's rays and harming your grass in the mid-afternoon heat, as well as preventing lawn diseases that can be caused at night.

Cut Grass 4" High. If grass is cut too short during the warm summer months, the sun's rays can heat the soil and harm your grass. Cutting it 4" high will help protect it from the sun and diseases. Check out our FAQs for more details on grass height.

If you follow the steps above, you'll be able to enjoy a green lawn throughout any heat or dryness that La Niña brings Michigan's way.