Keeping a Healthy Lawn in a Drought

This time of year in Texas always brings an unhealthy and miserable drought. It’s difficult to know exactly how to handle your lawn in this kind of climate, as the sun always seems to dry out all moisture, and with limited water sources, it can be difficult to know where that happy medium of keeping your lawn healthy without wasting resources is located. Here at Cypress Lawn, we’ve taken the time to compile a list of the best ways to keeping a healthy lawn in a drought.

Do not overwater or over-fertilize your lawn

A mistake made by many novice lawn-keepers is the compulsion to spray insane amounts of water over every brown spot or dead patch in site. Aside from heat and not getting enough water and nutrients, the second most common way to kill your grass is to overwater it. Many grasses will give you a sign if they are being overwatered, such as turning yellow. Overwatering is very easy to spot, the grass begins to turn a brown color and the ground is consistently damp. To keep from overwatering, try to maintain applying about one inch of water to your lawn per week.

Likewise, many people tend to apply fertilizer more than they should. Most fertilizers require that they be watered in the ground so that the grass can absorb the nitrates and other nutrients. However, most plants have an internal system that allows them to slowly go dormant and stretch out their intake of nutrients over a longer period of time. If the plants recognize that there isn’t an endless supply of life-sustaining nutrients available, they will extend their intake by only taking in enough to keep alive. This causes the plant to give off a more subdued color. Plants generally do this during the winter time which is why many plants’ colors change during the winter. Plants can also do this sort or resource conservation in a time of drought.

Do not under-water your lawn

One thing plants need is conditioning. Grass especially needs conditioning when it comes to watering and fertilizing. If your grass is under-watered it will die as quickly as if it is overwatered; grass needs to be weaned off of its normal water supply intake in order to survive. Weaning the grass off of its normal water supply will help it get used to having less water than it regularly does which will benefit your lawn in the long run. Under-watering your lawn could cause the grass to go into a sort of shock, which will trigger its resource conservation, but whenever you initiate a regular water pattern, the grass may over-compensate and drown itself. This is why it is important to practice a steady gradual change in water supply for your grass rather than jolt it into different water intakes.

Cut your grass higher than usual and give it lots of shade

Many people live in residential communities where home owner associations dictate how often your grass is allowed to grow out before it is no longer presentable. However, it is recommended that you lift your mowers a bit during the drought season in order to allow the grasses to natural conserve water. By cutting the grass higher, the grass will have more area to store moisture. Additionally, grass that is constantly cut (once a week is ideal) uses less water. Also be sure that your mower is in working condition to cut, not tear, the grass. After you’ve mowed, check the tips of the grass. If they are brown, this could be indicative of tearing, in which case you may need to get new blades for your mower to ensure you are properly cutting the grass instead of tearing it from its root system and soil.

In addition to trimming you lawn at a higher point than you normally would, you’ll also be wise to give it plenty of shade. It goes without saying that exposure to the sun offers many nutrients and vitamins, but over exposure causes heat and dryness. Heat and dryness will cause the grass to overcompensate by using more and more water to moisturize itself, wasting resources and money when re-watering. To keep your lawn from drying out, make sure that it gets a decent amount of shade. You can incorporate lawn shade into your landscape by planting trees that help shield your lawn from too much sun.

Always check for pests

Pests and bugs can destroy your grass as fast as the drought can, so it is always recommended you check and make sure there are no harmful organisms in your lawn—the last thing you want during a drought is an added helping kill your yard. Grubs eat grass roots, which causes the grass to die in patches. To make sure that it is grubs and not lack of water that is killing your yard, dig about an inch into the yard around the dead patches and look out for grub worms. If you see them, you should invest in insecticide to sprinkle over your lawn. Below is a quick how-to video on getting rid of grub worms:

Remember that while drought season is harmful on your lawn, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your yard remains healthy and lush. Be sure to always check for pests, cut your grass higher than usual, and apply approximately 1 inch of water per week to your lawn. Also remember to make a note of what time you water your lawn—it’s advised to water just before the sun comes up so that your watering compounds with the morning dew to give your lawn the most water possible. If you’re in Cypress, TX or the surrounding areas, be sure to contact us today with any questions about lawn treatment or to request a free estimate on your lawn service.

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