The northeast is already experiencing a drier than normal summer. Lawns are looking a bit scorched and dry conditions are expected to persist into late September. Keeping your lawn healthy during a drought can be difficult but taking steps before, after, and during a drought can save the lawn. With July being Smart Irrigation Month, keeping your lawn healthy during a drought can be done effectively and affordably. Our article this week will tell you how to do so.
Before the drought starts, it is important to dethatch the lawn. Removing dead organic lawn matter ensures that your lawn can absorb every bit of moisture that is available. Consider getting your soil tested and purchase the proper amendments to keep it the healthiest it can be during the dry period. Investing in a rain barrel or Smart Irrigation System will also help.
Watering the correct amount in a drought can be a challenge. Irrigating the lawn once per week at about a half an inch can usually keep it moist enough but you should only water if you see signs of turf wilt. These signs include the grass turning a gray-blue tint and footprints being visible when the lawn is walked on. When you do irrigate, try to do it between 3 AM and 6 AM which ensures the lawn can properly absorb moisture before it evaporates in the sun.
An easy way to ensure that you are keeping your lawn healthy during a drought is to not walk on it. Lawns become extremely fragile during times of drought so you want to avoid any extra stress. Not walking on the lawn can help it retain moisture. You should also avoid practicing aeration and dethatching which can also lead to the loss of moisture.
If you have to mow during a drought, be sure to raise your mower blade to 25% or more. Longer grass means less moisture evaporating. Grass that is already stressed can be also be damaged by mowing too much. If you do mow, you can leave the clippings down to conserve moisture and add nitrogen to the lawn. You’ll also want to keep your blades sharp as possible to prevent the grass from getting cut in a ragged fashion which can lead to it drying out and becoming burned.