A Guide To Dry-Season Lawn Care

In climates where rain is pretty consistent, many people do not have irrigation systems to stay on top of keeping their lawns hydrated, so what happens when you have an unexpectedly dry season? Many people do not know what to do in order to care for their lawns when rain is scarce. Do you need to water the grass? How much water is enough? Is it still okay to fertilize and aerate a dry lawn?

Here is your guide to dry-season lawn care. 

1. Water, but not as much as you might think.

Water conservation is an important part of community living during dry seasons. In order to keep your lawn green, deep watering once or twice a week is necessary. However, there's a difference between keeping grass green and keeping grass alive. 

As your grass loses moisture, it will begin to yellow. Many people panic, thinking their grass is dying because it is no longer vibrantly green. However, in drought periods, grass reaches a state of partial dormancy that allows it to stay alive without as much water. Eventually, a yellow lawn will die without water, but that's only after several weeks without any water at all. 

If water conservation is your goal, give your grass deep watering every few days. Deep watering means leaving sprinklers on the lawn for a couple of hours, allowing the water to really soak down into the soil. This helps improve your lawn's drought resiliency; deep watering encourages deeper root development, which means your grass will not dry out as quickly.

2. Water in the evening, through the night, or in the early morning.

During the middle of the afternoon, your grass might look tired and thirsty, but running a sprinkler at 3 PM will not be as beneficial to your grass. The heat from the sun will evaporate a lot of the afternoon water, so it won't reach the roots of your grass. Instead, try to water at night when the sun is setting, giving the water the maximum time to soak into the soil before the sun comes up. If that's not possible, try early morning watering to try and conserve as much water as possible. 

3. Use a slow, steady delivery system. 

Slow, steady watering is better than a deluge. Use a sprinkler that lays down a small amount of water over a long period of time. Running a high-volume sprinkler for a shorter time will use the same amount of water, but more of the water will run off instead of sinking into the soil.

4. Avoid aeration and fertilizer until conditions improve.

Fertilizer and aeration can be great for lawn health, but they both temporarily stress the grass before it recovers stronger. Without sufficient water, fertilizer can burn your grass. Aeration takes root and plant growth to be effective, and drought-dormant grass does not grow in order to conserve resources. 

Contact a professional to learn more about lawn care