Lately, it’s been pretty dry here in Minnesota, and many are wondering how to care for their lawn without the rain. Droughts can reverse all the hard work you’ve put into your lawn this season, but with proper lawn care in a drought, you can keep it healthy until the rain finally returns.
Drought lawn care isn’t complicated as long as you know what to do. Although it may look a little dryer than usual, with these tips, your grass will look as good as new once the drought is finally over.
Signs of a Drought-Stressed Lawn
Before you know what kind of care your lawn needs during a drought, it’s important to assess the effects of the drought now. Check your lawn for these signs of stress during dry spells.
Discolored Dry Grass
If your grass starts looking darker than its usual bright green, sometimes almost purple, that’s usually a sign it’s thirsty. If it’s beginning to turn gold or brown, then it’s definitely being affected by the drought. But this doesn’t mean it’s past the point of no return – it may just be staying dormant to conserve the water it still has.
Cracks in the Soil
Hard, dry, sometimes cracked soil is a result of prolonged thirst. If you try to water your lawn at this point, it also may have a tough time absorbing it, causing the water to run right off. A sprinkler system may be a good idea to give your drought-stressed lawn enough water to become workable again.
Even if your grass is still a healthy color, it could already be experiencing impacts of the drought. Healthy grass should spring back up after being stepped on. If the blades are stiff, causing you to leave footprints, then it’s a sign your lawn doesn’t have enough water.
Missing patches of grass could be the result of excessive foot traffic or pets, but it may also be a sign of drought. If the grass doesn’t have enough water, it may start disappearing entirely in certain areas.
Thirsty grass is more susceptible to weeds, so you may see more pop up in your lawn during a drought. If you catch them right away, you should be able to remove them fairly easily before they can do any damage.
The Best Way to Water Your Lawn During a Drought
One of the best ways to take care of your lawn is by watering it. But what’s the best way to water grass during a drought?
You’ll want to water it in the morning, which is when water is least likely to evaporate, giving it plenty of time to reach your grass’s roots. The deeper the roots go, the more water your grass will be able to conserve for the next drought. Plan to give it a good soak two or three times per week to make sure it has plenty of water. That’s easier said than done, but easier done than said with an irrigation system!
You also have the option of letting your grass go dormant, especially if the drought isn’t expected to be long-lasting. Although it may get discolored or turn brown, in many cases it will come back to life once the rain returns.
How Else You Can Care for Your Lawn During a Drought
Besides watering, there are a few other ways you can keep up with lawn care in a drought. If you’re experiencing a dry spell, consider making these changes to keep your lawn healthy until the rain can fully bring it back to life.
Keep Off the Grass
During a drought, try to stay off your lawn as much as possible. Stepping on it when it’s already suffering from the effects of a drought could damage it further, which may be difficult to fix even after the drought ends.
Change Your Lawn Mowing Habits
Mowing is typically a way to keep your lawn looking great, but during a drought it may do more damage than good. Consider keeping the lawn mower in the shed for the time being. If you need to cut it for any reason, raise the cutting height and make sure your blades are sharp to minimize the chances of damage.
Fertilizer needs plenty of water to do its job, so it probably won’t work very well during a drought. Additionally, when high-salt fertilizer is applied to a dry lawn in high heat, it could end up burning your grass. So skip the fertilizer altogether during the dry season and focus on keeping your lawn well-watered instead.
Remove Weeds Immediately
Weeds left in a lawn take water and nutrients away from your grass, so in a drought it’s even more critical that they’re removed as soon as possible. Herbicides won’t work well in the heat, since they’ll often evaporate before they can be absorbed, so weeding by hand works best during droughts.
Prepare Your Lawn for the Next Drought with Rock Solid
Chances are, this won’t be the last drought your lawn will experience. Consider getting a sprinkler system to keep lawns hydrated, even when rain showers are few and far between. Drought-resistant grass types may also be a good option if you’d like to give your lawn a better chance of survival during droughts.
If you’d like to learn more about any of these options or want more tips on keeping your lawn healthy during a drought, get in touch with Rock Solid today through our website or by phone at 763-398-0739!