It’s almost inevitable. Summer arrives with scorching temps and lots of rain. But then the rain doesn’t always stay and drought conditions kick in. Lawn care becomes more complicated in an instant. Drought is more of a problem than ever before and worse in specific areas of the United States than others. Statistics estimate that 53 million people are living in drought-affected areas worldwide. More than 93 percent of the land area in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico is in some level of drought while 69 percent of Utah is in severe drought, as is 61 percent of Colorado. California, parts of Florida, and other areas of the United States also experience regular drought periods throughout the year and especially in summer.
Keeping a healthy lawn during the dry or drought period is not easy. There are ways, however, to keep the summer drought woes at bay. Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care specialists since 1977, has the tips you need to work through the drought and keep your lawn in good shape all summer long.
How To Deal Your Lawn During A Summer Drought:
What to do before the drought starts –
- Create a water collection system – Rain barrels can be amazing and easy to install water collection systems and help combat the impact of droughts. For every inch of rain, you can gain approximately 500 gallons of water. Be sure you research your state’s laws about rainwater collection – some states have specific restrictions about rainwater collection and use.
- Install an irrigation system – A watering system can save water as well as money by allowing you to control the timing and amount of water used to hydrate your lawn.
- Choose grass wisely. Did you know that certain grass types are better for drought-prone areas? Zoysiagrass, buffalo grass, and fescue are the best grasses for drought conditions. Grasses that are native to the area are also the best considerations to deal with the local weather and drought conditions.
- Soil quality matters too. Soil testing can support how your lawn grows and thrives with or without the presence of drought conditions. In the event of a drought, it begins to matter even more. Soil support can help your grass thrive all summer long.
What to do while the drought is in full effect –
- Limit foot traffic. Compacted soil is never a good idea on lawns and especially bad during a drought. Rope off or otherwise protect vulnerable areas especially when hydration is an issue. You should keep a close eye out for areas that look trampled or show footprints.
- Watch the weather. Don’t let the drought sneak up on you. Keep a close eye on local conditions and track drought conditions.
- Watch for signs. Keeping a close watch for signs of stress and disease is imperative to ushering your lawn through the dry season. Signs may look like thinning and browning as lack of water and excessive heat wreak havoc on the plant’s photosynthesis making your lawn unable to store carbohydrates. You may notice your grass wilting or darkening in color. Also, footprints will remain visible after walking on the lawn.
- Fertilize in moderation. Fertilizing can be great but there is a tipping point. Don’t try to offset the problems caused by drought by adding more and more fertilizer. This will burn your lawn.
- Mow at a higher setting. It’s a common mistake that buzz-cut-loving homeowners make. Cutting the grass too low can cause unneeded stress on your lawn during drought periods. Your mower should be set to around three inches. Keeping the grass a bit taller will help it to shade its fragile root systems and keep the soil moister by reducing evaporation from the sun.
If you live in an area where drought is getting worse and staying around longer, you may have to consider a few alternative solutions. Sustaining a lush, healthy lawn can be a challenge or impossibility in your geographical region. Here are some options to consider if you are faced with year-round drought conditions.
- Downsizing your Lawn – It may be worthwhile to reconsider just how much lawn you have if drought is an ongoing issue. With the increase in drought and water shortages, many homeowners are downsizing their green to support conservation, comply with local regulations and reduce the heavy lifting, not to mention lower the costs of having a lush green lawn in areas where it is hard to maintain. If a lawn is still desired for children or pets or even aesthetics there is no need to eliminate it, just make the area smaller and easier to manage.
- Artificial grass is trending – Artificial grass is not everyone’s aesthetic preference, but in some cases, it’s the most practical option. Desert environments undergoing water restrictions hardly merit an argument for a lawn and a little patch of artificial turf can be all that is needed for a pet or sitting area. Maintenance is easy and many varieties of artificial turf get remarkably close to looking like the real thing.
- Move toward drought-tolerant grass – Some grasses are better at dealing with drought conditions than others naturally. These drought-tolerant traits can help you fight the battle against drought and still have the full lawn you seek.
Spring-Green specializes in lawn care in all conditions. For your home or your business, we can help you maintain the investment you’ve made in your lawn as well as help you amplify your enjoyment of your outdoor living space. During the hot, dry summer months, we are here to help you offset the impact of drought (and of course, all the other conditions year-round). Contact one of our professional team members in your area today to get started.