Drought-like and dry conditions are becoming the norm as the climate changes. If you have a lawn, that presents a lot of challenges, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up under the harsh conditions or end up with a brown dried out mess. Successfully taking care of your lawn during dry seasons requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are top ideas, tips and tricks.
Raise the Mower Blades
One mistake that a lot of people make is having their mower blades too low. To ensure that your grass can utilize all the water that is in the soil, you need to make sure that the mower is set to cut three to four inches off the ground. Grass of this length will usually have a deeper root system which will allow it to pull water from deeper parts of the soil.
Also, grass of this length provides some shade, ensuring the soil remains cooler, which reduces evaporation and ensures you do not use as much water to keep the lawn looking great. Longer is always better when caring for a lawn during a dry season.
In addition to raising the mower blades, it is also important to keep them sharpened. You want the blades to cut and not tear the grass. Dull mower blades do the latter, and this puts a lot of stress on the grass. This stress causes the grass to use more water and resources trying to repair itself and if there is not enough water or resources in the soil, you are likely to see the death of your lawn.
Stay off the Lawn
Staying off your lawn during the dry season is one of the best ways to ensure it survives the drought. Drought puts a lot of stress on your lawn and you do not want to add additional stress to the lawn during times of drought. Activities like detaching, aeration and scarifying lawn should be held off until the conditions improve. These activities can lead to loss of moisture, something you should be trying to avoid as much as possible during a drought.
Also, skip fertilizing the lawn if there is not enough water to support new plant growth. Nitrogen fertilizers lead to lots of new growth which makes the grass use more water to support these new growths. Also, these new growths may be tender and not as drought-resistant as mature parts of the grass.
Herbicide treatments should also be avoided during the dry season. Herbicides are extremely stressful to plants even when they are actively growing and there is enough water to support their growth. Also, the added strain to your grass due to herbicides leads to the overgrowth of weeds because the grass is unable to suppress the weeds.
Have a Watering Plan
To survive a drought or drier-than-normal season, you need to irrigate responsibly. If you cannot come up with a comprehensive watering plan, avoid watering altogether. This is because if you let the lawn go into dormancy and then start watering it, that confuses the plants and can cause permanent damage.
Also, avoid using automated systems during the dry season. Watering manually allows you to check if all areas of the lawn are getting water and that each of the areas is being watered evenly. Deep, infrequent watering in the early hours of the morning is ideal. Doing it this way helps reduce evaporation and ensures the grass has enough water to thrive until the next watering.
If you live in an area where water is scarce, it would also be a good idea to think about finding turf that does not require too much irrigation. This makes it easier to water the lawn and helps you save water for other uses. Companies that focus on lawn care like R & L Irrigation Services can help you find turf that will lighten the burden of watering your lawn, especially when there is not enough water to keep watering the lawn as you would like to. R & L Irrigation handles lawn and turf management to ensure you have a healthy, green yard. They rely on science and different analytical methods to come up with a management plan for your lawn or turf regardless of whether you are looking for lawn and turf care for your home or commercial property.
Have a Balanced Landscape
Having a balanced landscape can help you make better use of critical resources such as water. A balanced landscape includes the right ratio of trees to grass, shrubs, and beds. This balance will not be easy to achieve so it would be a great idea to involve a landscape architect when planning it out. In addition to making better use of water, having a variety of plants can help provide shade which helps keep the soil moist and avails more water to your lawn grass.
Consider Drought-tolerant Lawn Grass
When planning the balanced landscape discussed above, it is always a good idea to consider planting drought-resistant grass, especially if you live in a dry area. Some grasses tolerate dry and hot conditions better and thrive in conditions that other grass species cannot handle. Although drought-tolerant grass species have traditionally been used on lawns, new species like the fescue species, have been bred to be drought-resistant and adequate for uses as lawn grass.
Downsize the Lawn
Sometimes, giving the best care to a part of your property means downsizing it. In the case of lawns and in areas where there is prolonged drought and water shortages, downsizing a lawn can be a great way to remain with a patch of green. Once you decide on the size of the lawn you would like to remain with, you can focus all your attention on that one area. You still have a green lawn for kids and pets to play in, albeit a smaller one, and one that is easier to manage and that does not use too many resources to maintain.
Let Nature Take its Course
A lot of people do not like brown grass because they think it reflects badly on them as homeowners. However, grass turning brown is an indication that the grass understands the environmental conditions and is adapting to them. When grass goes brown, that is a natural process and even though it may not look like it, the grass is still alive and will bounce back once there the conditions improve. Even though you may not like the brown colour of the grass, know that you get to save water by letting nature take its course and knowing that the green will come back in due time.
Ensuring that you have a green lawn during a dry season can be extremely challenging, especially in areas where there is water scarcity or restrictions on water use. Many homeowners switch to trying to make their lawns survive until the weather is good enough for the green to come back. The strategies above will help you ensure your lawn looks good throughout the dry season and help you know what to do in case keeping the lawn green is not a viable option.1