No "drought" about it, summer droughts can be brutal.
And in many parts of the country, droughts are an annual occurrence.
But, what can you do to prepare your lawn for a drought?
And, what can you do to revitalize your lawn after it suffers a drought?
Below you will find 4 steps which answer each of these questions!
Sound like a plan? Then let's get started!
Droughts are Spreading in the US
Droughts are often referred to as a "creeping phenomenon," due to the slow nature in which they arise.
It's true, droughts are a hazard of nature and are inevitable in many parts of the country.
Get this, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, 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 simpler words, it hasn’t rained in a while.
And unless you xeriscape your landscape, you will likely encounter the consequences a water shortage can bring about.
Preparing Your Lawn For Droughts (Before and After)
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 only a few weeks of no rain.
So we reached out to the pros and gathered the best tips for what to do before and after a drought to get your lawn looking healthy again.
4 Steps for Preparing Your Lawn Before a Drought
We asked Chad with Florida Green Works in Pinellas Park, FL to help lend us a hand on exactly what to do prepare for a drought.
Follow these 4 steps below to ensure you are protecting your "grasset."
De-thatching is the process of removing the organic layer of material that accumulates in a lawn over time. Thatch prevents water from getting into the soil.
Therefore, removing thatch helps your lawn to absorb any moisture that is available. Removing thatch is important any time of year, but especially during a drought.
Aeration is literally the act of punching small holes throughout the lawn. Aeration serves a similar purpose as de-thatching when it comes to preparing your lawn for the drought season.
Here's the deal, those holes will deliver any moisture directly to the roots of your lawn.
3. Keep Mowing Regularly
Pro Tip! Keep your lawn mower blades sharp so they cut the grass not rip it, and sharpen your mower blades every 25 hours of use.
4. Stay Off My Lawn!
Look, there is no better time to put up your "Stay Off My Grass Sign" than during a drought.
Even foot traffic will compact the soil and not allow your lawn to absorb moisture. Stay off the lawn when the grass is impacted by drought.
4 Steps for Repairing Your Lawn After a Drought
Now after all this is said and done and your lawn has barely survived the drought.
What can you do next?
We asked Thomas Workman of Workman Lawn Services in Nashville, Tn.
These are the 4 steps he tells his customers to repair a lawn after it is damaged by a drought!
1. 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. Also on any sloped areas where water may run off.
Remember! Water early in the morning between the hours of 4 am to 8 am so that you are not fighting evaporation from the hot summer sun.
After a two good week watering cycle, it is a good time to apply a balanced fertilizer like Scotts Turf Builder. The ideal NPK proportions for drought repair are as close to 4-1-2 as possible.
WARNING: High nitrogen fertilizers could hurt the lawn if the hot, dry weather returns.
3. Kill Weeds
Treating these individually will prevent your lawn from fighting those weeds for moisture and nutrients. This will help your lawn come back faster, and create a stronger lawn the next time a drought comes around.
4. Return to Regular Maintenance
Most people don't know this, but mowing your lawn at around 3 inches will help your lawn hold more moisture.
Furthermore, a higher cut will ensure that your lawn will not be scalped and expose the brown areas at the base of your grass causing ugly patches in the lawn.
Green Lawn After Drought (TLDR)
Droughts are common, but you can prep your lawn and revive it afterwards!
Before a drought:
- Remove thatch: This lets water reach the roots.
- Aerate the soil: This also helps water reach the roots.
- Mow regularly, but leave clippings: They add moisture.
- Limit foot traffic: Compacted soil absorbs less water.
After a drought:
- Water deeply: Soak the lawn early morning to avoid evaporation.
- Fertilize with balanced fertilizer: Use a 4-1-2 NPK ratio.
- Kill weeds: Target individual weeds to conserve resources.
- Resume regular mowing: Keep grass at 3 inches for moisture retention.
Droughts, Your Lawn, and You
Our lawns are our gateway to our homes. It's 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.
Look, at the end of the day, if you live in certain parts of the US, a drought is inevitable. So its best that you prepare now by treating your lawn and landscape properly so that it can better weather... the weather.
Here's the good news, if you are proactive, you can keep your lawn healthy all year round. And if your lawn happens to go dormant from a severe drought. Using the above techniques will get your lawn back in the green in no time.
Need an extra hand to help prepare for droughts or other lawn issues?
Hire a lawn care pro at GreenPal!
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