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11 Drought Lawn Care Tips

Posted by Susanna Haynie on July 25, 2013
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green lawn tipsWater restriction went into effect very early this year. A great drought was expected this year. However, we were pleasantly surprised to get quite a few showers over the past few weeks, to the point where the city is contemplating to lift water restrictions. Water levels are still not where they should be and it has been mentioned that they are 70% below average. This means it’s still important to conserve one of our most valuable resources.

The typical suburban lawn consumes 10,000 gallons of water above and beyond rainwater each year. These tips below will help you keep your lawn healthy and conserve water, and save you some green.

  1. When soil temperatures climb above 70 degrees, root growth ceases on cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass and the fescues.
  2. Instead of wilting and dying like many plants, they simply go dormant if they have become established for a year.
  3. Lawns with a thick thatch layer are also more prone to dying and thus may need the watering. Thick thatch can be controlled in the fall with de-thatching machines and aeration.
  4. An inch of water is needed once a week to keep the lawn green when temperatures are lower than 85 degrees. At higher temperatures, lawns may need 2 inches of water, applied in two separate applications.
  5. With early morning watering, little water is lost to evaporation. Watering at night is not encouraged because it leads to diseases.
  6. Give your lawn infrequent, deep waterings rather than frequent, light irrigations that keep roots close to the soil surface and drying conditions.
  7. Raise the mowing height to 2½ to 3½ inches.
  8. Sharpen blades on mower – Cutting with dull blades will cause a lawn to turn brown & go dormant quicker in drought like conditions
  9. Reduce foot traffic on the lawn -As the top layer of soil dries, damage from compaction increases
  10. If you decide to not water your lawn through the summer, do NOT fertilize. in order not to stimulate tender growth.
  11. Come September, strive to improve the overall health of your lawn. Consider overseeding with new, improved cultivars, aerate to stimulate root growth, and fertilize to improve the thickness of the turf.

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