Summer can be brutal, especially for lawns in Central Florida. Drought conditions transform lush, green meadows into brittle brown expanses in what feels like a matter of days. In certain parts of the US, drought is inevitable. It comes every year without fail, and it feels like there’s very little we can do to stop it.
Luckily, with careful care and preparation, you can keep your lawn healthy all summer long.
In fact, if you’ve been following the steps from our May Summer Lawn Care guide, you’ve probably already noticed that your grass is staying lush while others suffer in the heat. Keep to that schedule! If your yard starts showing signs of drought, here are three tips that’ll help it bounce back.
Psst: If you’re not sure whether your area is experiencing a full on drought, you can check the NOAA Climate.gov Drought Monitor.
#1 Water your thirsty yard regularly
Drought occurs when it hasn’t rained for a while. While ground water from lakes, streams, wells and other unground sources, can keep plants going for a little while, they really do need water up above ground too! Especially plants with shorter roots systems.
And grass, if it hasn’t been properly prepared, has a pretty short roots system.
Here’s what you need to know about watering in the summer:
- How often: You should water two to three times a week, minimum.
- What time: Try to water in the early morning before the sun rises (between 4am and 8am), otherwise the sun will evaporate the water before it has a chance to sink into the ground.
- How much: You’ll want every single bit of your yard to get 1” of water.
- How long: Every sprinkler system is unique. Here are two ballpark timings…
- Pop-up sprinklers should run for about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Rotating sprinklers should run for an hour to an hour and a half.
- To know exactly how long it takes your sprinkler system to generate 1” of water, run the sprinkler test from Marguerite Beckford in our May Summer Lawn Care Guide. Look for the heading: “How long do you need to run your sprinklers when you water your lawn?”
Be careful, though! It IS possible to overwater during a drought. Overwatering risks suffocating your grass’ roots and allows fungus and weeds to take over.
#2 Mow your drought-stressed yard only when it’s very long
It can be tempting to trim your lawn frequently but try to avoid doing that during a drought. Taller grass survives dry conditions. Grass needs its long blades to help feed and lengthen its root system. Plus, it will grow slower in a drought, so you won’t need to mow as frequently as you do the rest of the year.
Here’s what you need to know about mowing in the summer:
- How often: Only mow when the blades are over 4.5” tall. Don’t mow unless the grass is that long!
- How much: Mow high – if it’s 5” tall, take off an inch… you can also follow the University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions recommended – remove 1/3 or less of your grass’s height.
- Don’t need to mow? If your yard isn’t growing, you don’t need to mow.
#3 Stay off your poor, struggling grass
If your area is in the middle of a drought – and your grass is showing signs of drought stress – stay off the yard as much as possible. Drought is a difficult time for grass, so any pressure or added stressors will make it harder for the grass to bounce back.
Here’s how to tell if your lawn has drought stress:
- The leaf blades are folded in on themselves.
- Your grass is a blue-gray color, instead of its usual vibrant green
- The grass doesn’t spring back after it’s been stepped on, leaving visible footprints.
If you’ve ever wanted to put up a “Stay Off My Lawn” sign, drought is the perfect time to do so! Even foot traffic compacts soil and stops moisture from seeping into the ground. So… Stay Off!
Worried your yard won’t survive? Call an expert.
Your lawn is your home’s stage – it welcomes you home each day! No one wants their grass to wither away. Yes, it is possible for drought to kill your yard completely.
Of course, we don’t want that to happen!
Expert lawn care specialists, like us here at Green 365, know all the signs, tricks, tips, and tools to help your yard survive severe drought. Our team will come out and investigate. We’ll pinpoint where your grass is on the drought-stress scale and take the right steps to help it bounce back. We’ll make sure your lawn survives to live another season!
Call Green 365 to help keep your grass lush and green all summer long.
Our Green 365 Lawn and Pest Solutions, LLC experts can monitor your yard’s health and check for pests and disease. We will provide you with friendly, professional lawn care services and maintenance. Contact us today for a free quote.
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