Getting Your Grass Green After A Drought

Written by Gene Caballero on August 23, 2016

Summer droughts can be brutal. Lawns in Clarksville, Tn and yards in Decatur, Georgia have all been affected by droughts. Often referred to as a "creeping phenomenon," droughts are a hazard of nature and are inevitable in various parts of the country. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, a drought originates from a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time resulting in a water shortage for some activity, group, or environmental sector. In other words, it hasn’t rained in a while.

Droughts can cause major strains economically, environmentally, and socially. Economic impacts can include wildfires from such dry condition. Environmental impacts include poor soil quality, migration of wildlife, and loss of wetlands. Social impacts include health problems related to dust & poor water quality.

Our lawns are our gateway to our homes. Its normally the first thing you notice driving through a neighborhood and pulling into someone's driveway. Having a beautiful, green, luscious lawn is our way of showing our attention to detail, our nurturing instincts, and our creativity.

With that being said, during a drought, our lawns are the ones that suffer. All of the hard work to get your lawn looking perfect can be ruined after a few weeks of no rain. So what GreenPal did was gather the best tips for what do during and after a drought to get your lawn looking healthy again.

We asked Chad with Florida Green Works in Pinellas Park, FL to help lend us a hand on exactly what to do during a drought. Due to city regulations and water shortages, there may be a ban on using your sprinkler system so watering your lawn during this drought may not be an option so follow the steps below to ensure you are protecting your "grasset."

De-thatch

This helps to absorb any moisture that is available. Removing thatch is important any time of year but especially during a drought.

Aerate

Punching holes in the ground is what this means. Those holes will deliver any moisture directly to the roots of your lawn.

Keep Mowing

Your grass will eventually stop growing but mow when it's necessary but don’t bag the clippings as those will provide moisture. Also, keep your lawn mower blades sharp so they cut the grass not rip it.

Stay Off My Lawn

There is no better time to blow up your "Stay Off My Grass Sign." During a drought, even foot traffic will compact the soil and not allow your lawn to absorb moisture.

Now after all this is said and done and your lawn has barely survived the drought and has a horrible brownish tint to it, it could be weeks before you can get it back into shape. We asked Thomas Workman of Workman Lawn Services in Nashville, Tn what he tells his customers to do after a drought.

Water thoroughly

This one is a no-brainer once water restrictions are lifted. Soaking your lawn will help restore the moisture and help with new root growth. Don’t forget to water on grass that’s growing on any hills where the wind can dry out the lawn and also on any sloped areas where water may run off. Water early in the morning between the hours of 4am to 8am so that you are not fighting evaporation from the hot summer son.

Fertilize

After a two good week watering cycle, apply balanced fertilizer like Scotts Turf Builder with proportions as close to 4-1-2 for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. High nitrogen ferts could hurt the lawn if the hot, dry weather returns.

Kill Weeds

Once the grass is back alive and kicking, treat the individual weeds, not the entire lawn with an herbacide like Roundups Concentrate Weed and Grass Killer. Treating these individually will not force your lawn to fight with those weeds for moisture and nutrients.

Return to Regular Maintenance

Doesn't matter if you stopped mowing the grass in Clarksville, Tennessee or halted cutting the yard in Decatur, Georgia during a drought, you will need to resume your schedule with your GreenPal vendor at some point. Mowing regularly at around 3 inches will ensure that your lawn will not be scalped and expose the brown areas at the base of your grass causing ugly patches. 

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