Lawns are already showing signs of drought stress, and the typical summer heat is right around the corner. Our fears for another dry summer are appear to be coming to fruition. In times of stress such as this, you will start to see your lawn turning a light tan/straw color which indicates the grass is starting to shut down and go dormant. These localized dry spots will need to be watered in order to hold them in their dormant state to avoid a more dire situation. Recovery to a healthy green is a very slow process, but here on some steps you can take to avoid a lawn renovation in the fall:
- Increase the mowing height of the lawn, and decrease the frequency of mowing events. Mowing is stressful on the lawn during these periods. Encourage you mowing crews to skip a mowing and/or only mow the healthy portions of the lawn. If you are serviced by Swazy & Alexander Landscaping, other services (weeding, pruning, etc) will be provided in lieu of skipped mowing events to allow the lawn to recover.
- Increase irrigation/watering of the stressed areas, and solely those areas. Avoid over-irrigating the lawn as a whole as this can increase the chances of turf disease which can be even more damaging than the drought stress.
- Spot treat stressed areas with organic amendments such as a fine compost application, soil conditioning applications, and moisture management applications. This will help the treated areas retain moisture and help deliver moisture to the lawn’s rootzone.
- Aerate and Overseed in the fall with a moisture manager application. Relieving compacted soils will help water and nutrients travel into the rootzone where grass roots can absorb them. Annual aeration is highly recommended for all lawns.
A prolonged drought may change our approach in delivering the necessary nutrients to your lawn and soils. We may need to switch to low nitrogen fertilizers and organic based products that focus on improved soil health may be necessary for struggling lawns. We will do our absolute best to treat the weeds that thrive in these conditions, but lawns may not be able to handle the herbicide applications to kill off the encroaching weeds.
Fertilizer applications are vital to helping it recover, even if the lawn is in a dormant state. The lawn will have the necessary nutrients available when more favorable growing conditions return. Additionally, there are a host of disease problems that the turf can face during periods of drought. While a standard fertilization program does not include fungicides as they are not regularly needed, having a trained technician on your property can help identify these issues early so they can be resolved in an efficient manner. Diseases during a drought can easily kill the turf due to its weakened state.
The heat and dry weather will no doubt put your landscape under stress but with continued care, you can help it recover. Rest assured, we are committed to providing you and your property with professional service and quality results. We continue to monitor the condition and needs of each individual property and will make service recommendations to help your lawn survive this period of drought.