How To Tell If Your Summer Lawn is dehydrated (and what to do about it).

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In the heat of the summer, your lawn can suffer from dehydration under the sun’s oppressive glare. Not every brown spot, however, is dehydration. Knowing when your lawn is truly suffering from a lack of hydration and how to address the issue when it rears its ugly head is the challenge for many homeowners during the drier parts of the year when there is excessive sunlight and also when there are water restrictions in place. Your neighborhood lawn experts at Spring-Green are to help! We’ve compiled this mini-guide to help you: 

  • Tell if your grass is over or under-hydrated 
  • Gain an understanding of how to get your lawn back into shape if it has become dehydrated 
  • Learn watering best practices for your type of lawn 
  • And more! 

Of course, if you are not the DIY type or if you need to call in a group of pros to help you solve your lawn problems (or just take care of routine maintenance), Spring-Green is always just a phone call away. 

Everything You Need To Know About Your Dehydrated Lawn: 

  • Preventing lawn dehydration. The exception is the grass that is dehydrated due to irrigation problems that are limiting the water in a specific area. Always check that it is properly hydrated first. 
    • The Tug Test – The tug test as it is called is where dead blades are put more easily because they have lost their rooting.  
    • Patterns And Patches – Patchy spots of dormant and dead grass spread throughout the yard can be an indicator of dehydration as well. 
  • Knowing the signs of dehydration. Understanding the signs of dehydration is key to prevention. Here are a few to keep a close eye out for: 
    • Visible Footprints – Footprints should go away very shortly after the imprint is made. If you begin to notice that they don’t, it could be a sign of lawn dehydration.  
    • Soil Gaps – When your lawn experiences dehydration, the soil shrinks. If there’s a gap, your lawn is experiencing heat stress, indicating it is in need of water. 
    • Bed Edge Dryness – The edges around your landscape beds can serve as a great drought indicator. If you notice drying “light” colored soil on the edges, it is a clear indication of dehydration.  
    • Screwdriver Test – An easy way to determine push a six-inch screwdriver into your lawn and see if it goes in easily or not. The easy it goes in, the more your lawn is hydrated. If the opposite is true, it may be a sign of dehydration.  
  • What to do if your lawn is dehydrated. If you have read the signs and know your lawn is suffering from dehydration, you have some work to do. The good news is you can (possibly) reverse things. Here are some ideas on how to take care of your lawn’s dehydration: 
    • Rake up the dead grass up clearing space for the soil. 
    • Spread seed. 
    • Apply fertilizer to get things off to a good start. 
    • Water and mulch. 
    • Ensure proper sunlight and water.   

Spring-Green is here to help if your lawn is showing signs of distress such as dehydration. We have been America’s go-to lawn specialist since 1977! Our professional team of lawn care experts can help with everything from routine maintenance to hydration issues to complete landscaping projects. We are standing by to assist you with your lawn care needs today.  

Contact Spring-Green for a free consultation. 

Lawn Renovation: Help Your Lawn Recover from a Dry Season

This past summer is one for the record books. Record-setting temperatures occurred in many cities and rainfall amounts were minimal. A lot of lawns suffered from the heat and drought that we experienced in 2012. If your lawn looks anything like mine, you’re wondering whether the brown spots will ever fill in again. In most cases, the surrounding grass was fulfilled in many of the bare spots, but there are situations where some major work will have to be done to get the lawn looking good again.

One of the best things you can do for a lawn – outside of fertilizing – is to have your lawn core aerated. Core aeration  is done by a machine that goes across the lawn and takes up plugs of soil and thatch and leaves them back on top of the ground. This opens up the lawn to allow for more air, water and nutrients to penetrate into the root zone. Developing stronger roots is a key to lawn recovery. The soil cores are left on top of the ground, and they will melt back into the lawn with normal rainfall or irrigation. If the lawn has a problem with thatch, the microorganisms in the soil will help to break down that thatch layer. It also helps to relieve soil compaction.

If your lawn is comprised of cool season grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass, find fescue or tall fescue, the fall is the best time to overseed your lawn . If your lawn has thinned out due to the stresses of summer and you are in a cool season turf area, the best procedure to follow is to court aerate your lawn followed by broadcasting seed across it. The type of seed to use is dictated by what is currently in the lawn.

Different types of grass germinate at different rates. Ryegrass germinates quickly, usually within a week after it has been sown. Bluegrass takes the longest amount of time to germinate – about 3 to 4 weeks after it has been sown. Therefore, timing is critical when overseeding your lawn to ensure that the new seedlings are strong enough to endure any frost or cold temperatures. If you are in the far north part of the country you’re seeding should be completed no later than the end of September. As you move south, you may be able to push this back by a month or so.

Many lawns suffered from the weather extremes we experienced this year. Grass is a fairly hardy plant and can recover from a lot of adversity. You can help this recovery process by aerating and overseeding during the late summer and early fall.

How to Care for Your Lawn through a Drought Season

 

Ugh! It is really getting ugly out there. Lawns are drying up, leaves on shrubs are wilting and it is beginning to be a real chore to keep up on watering annual plants. The one thing I have learned in my 35 years in the lawn care business is that it will rain again – I guarantee it. The tough part is figuring out when it will rain again and how much damage will occur if the rain keeps skipping our area. We will just have to wait, hope, pray, wave a dead chicken over our head at midnight, do a rain dance or any other folk remedy that may help the rain return.

Taking Care of Your Lawn in a Drought

As far as your lawn is concerned, it will survive as long as it gets about a half an inch of rain every 30 days. If you have been mowing your lawn at 2½ to 3 inches, then you may even be able to wait another week before watering. I am not saying that it will look good, but it will be alive. The goal is to keep the crown of the plant alive. To do this, leave a sprinkler in the same location for about an hour. This will generally supply about half an inch of water.

Drought on Warm Season Grasses – Expert Lawn Care Tips

 

To keep track of the amount of water, you can place three empty tuna fish cans or similar containers close to the sprinkler- half way between the sprinkler and the farthest point the water reaches, and at the farthest point that the water reaches. After an hour, measure the amount of water in each container, add the amounts together and divide by three to determine the average amount water supplied per hour. That seems like a lot of work to me, so I recommend just leaving the sprinkler in one spot for about an hour and it will be fine.

Taking Care of Trees & Shrubs in a Drought

You should be more concerned about caring for your trees and shrubs during a drought. For the most part, turf will survive, but trees and shrubs have a harder time dealing with excessive dryness, especially when it is combined with above average temperatures and compacted soil. The majority of the roots are located in the top eight inches of soil, and the roots can extend out as far as four times the distance from the trunk to the edge of the drip line.

Concentrate your watering from the drip line out. For younger trees and shrubs, more of the feeder roots are close to the main trunk, so concentrate the water in that area. If you are watering a large bed of shrubs, setting up a sprinkler on a bucket or purchasing a sprinkler that has an extension tube on it will allow you to water this area more efficiently. Hand watering is usually not sufficient to provide an adequate amount of water.

It will rain again, I promise. I swear that going out at midnight and waving a dead chicken over your head will either make it rain or get you arrested – your choice.

Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday celebration and watch those sparklers on the dry grass. You don’t want to start any grass fires.

Texas and Oklahoma Drought

Texas and Oklahoma are enduring a serious drought this year.  In fact, the drought actually started last fall and has persisted throughout 2011 with little relief.  Many areas haven’t experienced drought at this level since the Dust Bowl era of the 1920’s and 30’s.  Farmers and ranchers are faced with major crop losses and herd reductions as they deal with the abnormally low rain fall levels.

What about the care of lawns in these areas?  Fortunately, most warm season grasses are adapted to low moisture levels and excessive heat.  Bermuda and Zoysia can go an entire summer without water.  St. Augustine and Centipede can survive for 3 to 4 months without water.  When I say survive, that does not mean there won’t be some damage to the plants when rain returns to the area.  Turf is a remarkable plant and can recover after much adversity, but there are limits when the environment is just too extreme.

Be conservative with watering.  Your goal should be to keep the grass alive, but not necessarily green.  When soil dries out completely, it is better to water in short increments of 15 minutes, a couple of times in one day.  Very dry soil takes a while to “re-wet”, so successive watering to slowly moisten the soil is better than watering for a long time all at once.  Water once every other week.  Your lawn may not be the greenest on the block, but it will recover faster once regular rain fall returns.