There are many things inevitable in South Texas and drought is no exception. Let’s face it, even though we like the heat, our lawns don’t always agree! When temperatures rise and rain is sparse, both are sure to put stress on anyone’s lawn. Here are some tips to help prepare you and your lawn for drought conditions.
- Make sure to water deep and infrequently. A common misconception is that you must water everyday. However, with longer and lengthier time periods of watering you will actually encourage deep roots and prepare your grass for the inevitable dry periods.
- When mowing, adjust the lawn mower to a higher setting, then mow as few times as possible and avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the grass off at one time. You will want to make sure you use a sharp blade, dull blades will stress your grass even more. Also, leave the grass clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings break down naturally and act as an organic fertilizer.
- Don’t fertilize during a drought, it can cause unneeded stress on your lawn. Not to mention the salt in synthetic fertilizers will rob the moisture in the soil faster than you can say “Dude, where’s my lawn?!” Also, limit applications of any herbicides and/or fungicides. These can damage drought stressed lawns.
- You CAN apply compost topdressing to a lawn during a drought. This will not only increase microbial activity in the soil, but it will improve moisture retention just like the mulch in your flower beds.
- Core aerate your soil! It encourages deeper roots and is recommended every 2-3 years.
- Install a drought tolerant grass. There are many varieties available that most people don’t know about because they are familiar with the common grasses installed by local builders. However, many different varieties exist that need less water and general maintenance.
- Remember the guy at the end of he block when you were a kid, screaming, “Stay off my lawn!” Well I hate to give you all this wonderful information on how to keep a healthy lawn, then tell you not to use it. But truth is, avoiding foot traffic and lawn activities will actually help your lawn.
- Try to water in the morning, between 5:00 and 8:00 AM and when it’s not windy to limit evaporation.
We all want a healthy lawn, sometimes we just don’t know how to get there. With the added variable of little to no natural water, it can be even more difficult. When approaching your lawn this summer, keep the basics in mind. Understand that your lawn is a lot like you… extreme heat, a bad hair cut, poor vitamins and no water will make it unhappy! So follow these basic tips to avoid killing your lawn during drought season in South Texas.