Helping Your Lawn Through a Drought

This article will give you a few tips on how to battle the drought that is sure to come at some point. 

The inevitable drought

If your lawn is made up of cool-season grass species, they will usually go dormant during the hot, dry weeks of summer. Drought-stressed lawns are susceptible to disease, weeds, and death.

The good news is that your lawn (the part that didn’t die) will most often return to active growth. But first, it has to cool down (and rain!) in the late summer/fall. 

You can keep your lawn growing with the right amount of water (1 inch per week). However, when the drought is super nasty and super long, the best approach may be to let it remain dormant. Then, when conditions improve, you can get down to the business of restoring your lawn to luscious beauty and health. 

When you’re in a “manageable” drought or your lawn is recovering from a long-term drought, there are some things you can do.

Dealing with the drought

Mow high

Raise the mower deck as high as it can go. This will help protect your roots while maintaining respectable turf quality. 

Mow less 

Mowing stresses out your lawn. And who wants that? Keep your lawn out of counseling by leaving the mower in the garage.

Mow sharp

Sharpen your mower blade. Give your lawn a cleaner cut – it promotes healing and prevents excess moisture loss. 

Water deeply

Instead of watering a little every day, encourage your grass roots to dig deep by watering deeply every few days, especially when it’s hot and dry. 

Water early

Early morning watering coincides with cooler temps, less wind, and higher humidity – all factors that will put watering on steroids. More water will soak into the soil and less will evaporate. This will also help your grass plants dry out before the evening and reduce the chance of disease pressure. 

Overseed in the fall

Chances are you’ve got a bunch of dead grass out there. Spruce up your lawn with some dethatching, core aeration, a good starter fertilizer, and the appropriate grass species. Here’s an article to help you get started on that process.

Apply winterizer 

Applying winterizer is one of the most important fertilizer applications you can give your lawn. The nitrogen in this product will push the roots of dormant grass down deeper into the soil profile where there are nutrients and greater moisture available.

Deeper roots are what you’ll want for your lawn when the weather is 90 plus degrees and rain is sparse. You will have a much healthier lawn coming out of dormancy in the spring. The best time to apply winterizer is when the grass is done growing, the leaves are off the trees, but the ground is yet to freeze. Here’s an article on winterizer.

One more thing

Speaking of winterizer – using a quality fertilizer program will go a long way toward helping your lawn defend itself against drought. Obviously, a severe and extended drought will wreak havoc on even the best of lawns, but do what you can to be prepared, and let the weather do what it will.

.Check out this article on quality lawn fertilizer. Pay attention to the bottom section that provides a list of benefits that ammonium sulfate can give to your lawn and soil.

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