Drought and your Lawn

During a drought, lawns often go dormant in order to conserve resources and survive the drought. When a lawn goes dormant; some sources say it can survive about 5-8 weeks in ideal conditions.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  More Time for You is not making any claims that your yard can sustain and survive a drought.  The ideal conditions for a dormant lawn are healthy soil, little traffic, moderate temperatures, no shade, and minimum thatch. When a lawn has these conditions, it can come out of dormancy without a significant thinning of the lawn.

There are several ways to improve the chances of grass surviving dormancy before a drought. The first thing to do is to reduce the compaction and thatch in the lawn. Using more potassium fertilizers than nitrogen fertilizers can also increase the survivability of a lawn. When watering, it is better to water less frequently but deeper, and to water late night or early morning. A deep watering helps to grow deeper roots that can help a lawn better survive a drought.

When a drought has begun there are several options to try to limit the thinning of your lawn. The first decision is to decide whether or not you will water. As mentioned earlier a lawn may be able to survive after going dormant for 5-8 weeks with a minimum amount of thinning. During a drought it is best to reduce or completely eliminate the use of fertilizers until the drought is over. If you decide to water, it is best to water enough so that the water reaches the deepest root. It is best to water infrequently, to mimic the natural rainfall. It is better to keep the grass tall during a drought and should not be mowed as short as you would during normal rainfall. After mowing it is beneficial to allow the clippings to be recycled back into the lawn to give the grass more nutrients and water. Areas that seem to be having more trouble can be treated with compost which will help it hold more moisture and will increase microbial activity.

If you decide to let the lawn go dormant, it is best to keep traffic off the lawn so there is no added stress to the grass. Watering about ½ inch every four weeks can increase the chance of long term survival. The use of herbicides on a dormant lawn are discouraged because of the stress it adds to the lawn. About one to two weeks after significant rainfall the lawn should recover.

The information in this posting is informational only and has been developed from a variety of sources.  More Time for You does not claim that taking or not taking any action suggested in this article will prevent harm to your lawn.  We are providing this as a source of information only.  We do not warrant or suggest that these steps will protect your lawn during or after drought conditions.

More Time for You provides lawn services in the Powell and Dublin area.

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