In the summer when the sun blazes down, your grass can become dried out and turn brown during extended periods without watering. While many grasses are hardy enough to survive long periods without water, the best way to tell if your grass can be restored is on closer inspection. If the grass is dead all the way to the roots, you’ll need to reseed. However, if the blades are brown but the base is still green, you’re in luck. Here are some summer drought lawn care tips to bring your grass back.
1. To Water or Not To Water?
During a drought, many towns enforce restrictions on water use and make it illegal to water your lawn just to keep it alive. Be aware, in this type of situation, that intermittently watering your lawn could cause it more damage, as many grasses survive droughts better in a dormant state rather than being kept partially alive.
If your town places restrictions or if your lawn has gone dormant during a drought, there are ways you can help it recover once the rain comes.
- Aerating the soil can help deliver moisture directly to the roots. Use an aerator to punch holes into the soil and expose the root system of your grass.
- Dethatching is a process by which you remove dead grass, leaves and other debris that may be blocking your lawn from getting proper moisture.
- Believe it or not, during a drought you should continue to mow your lawn. The grass may be dormant but it will still continue to grow. Removing about 1/3 of the length of the blades will help the root system feed the grass more efficiently.
3. After the Rain
Once it rains you’ll begin to see your grass come back to life. Just like during the drought, you can help jump start growth by following these guidelines.
- Begin watering your lawn on a regular basis once restrictions are lifted. While there are two schools of thought to when to water, doing it in the morning is often considered best. Watering before the sun gets high enough to evaporate moisture but still allowing the grass to use the sun’s energy to feed itself is usually a good balance.
- Weeding individual weeds within your lawn will helps send moisture and nutrients to the grass rather than to other unwanted plants. While it’s more work, weeding by hand rather than using a spray-on weed killer will allow your lawn to come back thicker.
- Once your lawn recovers and turns green again, you’ll want to fertilize it using a spreader. Fertilizers that are high in nitrogen can damage grass in extreme high heat, so choose one that has a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Your grass may seem like a delicate plant but it’s actually very strong and equipped to go long periods of time without water. While it might not appear to be alive during a drought, do your best to keep it healthy so that when the rain returns it will bloom again and come in thick and green.
Check out all the lawn & garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on summer drought lawn care, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image courtesy of Flickr.
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.