Drought is the point where lack of rainfall causes changes in the way a turfgrass plant grows. The lawn dries out from the surface down.
The first sign of drought stress is a grayish-purple appearance and a foot printing effect. When you step on the grass it doesn’t bounce right back up it stays flat. If the lawn does not receive sufficient irrigation soon it will turn brown. Once a lawn turns brown it can take up to three weeks before it will fully recover. If your lawn is shallow rooted, this can cause an increase in insect activity, poor color, browning, or dead areas.
If your lawn turns brown, it doesn’t mean its dead. Dormancy is a natural response by a cool-season grass during excessively hot and dry conditions.
Mowing and Watering
Proper mowing and watering practices during summer months are crucial to your lawns health. The last thing you want to do as a homeowner is to add additional stress factors. Here are some tips we recommend during this time:
Raise your mower blade to 3″ or higher. This increases leaf area, so more energy can be stored. It also shades the soil and the crown of the plant, so that stress is reduced.
Only mow the lawn if it needs to be cut, never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time
Mow with a sharp blade and never mow during the hottest times of the day.
Water your lawn heavily 2-3 times per week. Deep watering encourages deeper rooted grass plants. This method of watering will encourage a deeper- rooted – turf, which will be less susceptible to drought and heat stress. Additionally, our Moisture Management Program, can help with water efficiency.
Continue to provide sufficient nutrients to the lawn when it is under stress. Just like when a person is ill or weak, it’s important to maintain proper nutrient intake, the same goes for your lawn.
Lawn should be fertilized with a slow release fertilizer (included in our programs), to help prevent any potential for burning. This fertilizer will sit in the root zone of the lawn until the grass is ready to use it.
It is also important to protect the lawn against the devastating effects against insects, weeds, and disease pressure when it’s in this vulnerable state.
It’s also worth noting, the majority of cool-season grass types will fully recover once cooler temperatures and adequate moisture are available. In some cases, thinning of the turf may occur and a fall aeration and overseeding will help in the recovery process.
We hope you have found this information helpful. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we’re here to help! You can reply to this email or give us a call at 508-459-3666.