Drought conditions can be lawn care enthusiast’s worst enemy. Not only can the absence of rain prevent grass from receiving sufficient nourishment, the water conservation laws found in many drought-prone areas can rule out other forms of watering as well. However, this isn’t to say that living in a drought-stricken area should preclude one from having a well-kept lawn. While there’s no denying that drought conditions make lawn care more challenging, it’s entirely possible to maintain healthy grass throughout a drought. Homeowners who want to help their lawns thrive amid drought conditions are sure to appreciate the following pointers.
Get Rid of Thatch
As any seasoned lawn care enthusiast can attest, thatch is the enemy of healthy growth. In case you’re unfamiliar, thatch refers to layers of dead roots, grass blades and leaf particles that are found on most lawns. If left unchecked, thatch is able to position itself between grass blades and soak up water and other forms of nourishment that should be used on living grass. Fortunately, thatch is fairly easy to get rid of. In many instances, thatch can be taken care of with nothing more than a standard rake. However, if it becomes a consistent problem for your lawn, you may want to consider investing in a specialized thatch rake. As the name suggests, these products are designed with thatch removal in mind and do better job at getting between grass blades than most traditional rakes.
Change Your Watering Habits
It’s easy to see why lawn care tends to be stigmatized in areas that regularly experience drought conditions. Although a well-kept lawn looks nice and adds character to a home, it’s hardly a necessity. The fact that most lawns are consistently overwatered doesn’t exactly help matters, either. There’s no better time than a drought to change wasteful watering habits. For best results, it’s recommended that you water deeply and infrequently—ideally, between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 AM. Watering during this window effectively reduces evaporation, thereby ensuring that your grass receives maximum nourishment. Unbeknownst to many homeowners, most types of grass can survive on far less water than they typically receive. Before proceeding to water your lawn, make sure you’re not in violation of your community’s water laws. If drought conditions are extreme enough, some areas will prohibit lawn watering altogether.
Limit Direct Contact with the Grass
Unsurprisingly, drought conditions can be extremely hard on most lawns. A lack of consistent nourishment can make grass brittle, discolored and prone to breakage. When dealing with grass that’s weathering drought conditions, it’s recommended that you limit direct contact. This means making a conscious effort to avoid walking on the lawn and encouraging neighbors, friends and family members to do the same. However, this isn’t to say that you should be overly-vigilant in this endeavor. For example, if you own dogs, the lawn is still going to be where they answer the call of nature. Additionally, other animals are bound to scurry across your lawn during the overnight hours.
Put Your Grass Clippings to Work
During a drought, you should still mow your lawn as needed. However, instead of throwing out the grass clippings, you can put them to work for you. Leaving the clippings on the lawn can provide your grass with valuable moisture, thereby leaving it less vulnerable to drought conditions. Just make sure the clippings aren’t too thick or clumpy, as this can rob your lawn of nourishment and inhibit new growth.
Invest in Drought Resistant Grass
If you live in an area that experiences drought conditions on a regular basis, drought resistant grass may be a worthwhile investment. Such grasses need less water than traditional lawn grass and are able to survive for long periods without it. When shopping around for drought resistant grasses, keep in mind that bluegrass, buffalo grass and fine fescues are all popular options.
Keeping your lawn healthy and vibrant during a drought can pose a number challenges. With rain in short supply and water conservation laws in effect, giving your grass the nourishment is requires can be an uphill battle. Still, as challenging as this can be, it’s by no means impossible. While keeping your lawn in peak condition during a drought is generally an unrealistic prospect, ensuring that it receives nourishment and stays alive should be well within the abilities of any homeowner.