How to Care for Grass During Drought
Once again, drought has come to the Western United States and other parts of the U.S. The high temperatures and low rainfall have likely turned your lawn dry and dismal. Get your yard back in shape with these five tips to prepare your lawn for a drought:
5 Tips for Lawn Care in Drought Conditions
- Use shade to protect your lawn and soil. Droughts have a larger impact on bare soil and sparse lawns. Adding shade to your yard with tall plants and trees will help your grass during a drought. This way, the ground will stay cooler and water won’t evaporate as quickly in the sun.
- Leave those clippings. Make your mowing routine shorter and leave grass clippings on your lawn. In addition to taller plants and trees, the cut grass will help shade your lawn. Bonus: the clippings can also help your lawn maintain moisture once the drought has passed.
- Keep grass on the long side. You can still mow your lawn during a drought but make sure to mow with the blades at the highest height. With both push mowers and riding mowers powered by Briggs & Stratton® engines, you can preserve two-thirds of the blade. When the grass is kept longer, it provides more shade for soil and allows your lawn to grow deeper roots (establishing a deep rooted lawn will come in handy after the drought is over too, see tip five).
- Don’t be wasteful with water. Be efficient with watering your lawn, especially during an extreme drought, by watering between 4 AM and 9 AM when the water is less likely to evaporate. Remember a soaking is better than frequent sprinklings with the hose. Be sure to read more about watering the lawn to get the greenest, healthiest lawn on the block.
- Fertilize to keep it fresh. Proper soil management and fertilization is important for all lawns because healthy soil means grass root systems can develop and grow. That nurtured deep root system is what the grass draws it’s energy from during a drought. Follow this schedule for fertilizing the lawn.
Consider these types of grass when planning your yard (if you don’t have grass already planted): Zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine, Buffalo, Bahia and Fescues. Instead of dying during hot dry weather, these grass types go dormant and require no fertilization or water.. Check out the Guide to Green Grass from Briggs & Stratton for more on grass types.
Have drought lawn care tips of your own? Share them in the comments! You can track droughts and their impacts on the U.S. Drought Panel website and find out if you’re facing a short-term or long-term drought.