Lawn Drought Stress

Lawn Drought and heat stress can wreak havoc on lawn care. This can particularly be a problem in the Atlanta area because of hot, dry summers. Watering consistently is one of the most important maintenance practices in taking care of your lawn, since 80% of a grass plant is comprised of water. Without adequate water, like during a lawn drought, grass soon turns brown and becomes dormant. An early clue to dryness is when grassy areas show a dark bluish-green cast. Begin applying water when the soil starts to dry out and before the grass wilts and has a chance to become brown. Water 1″ to 1 1/2″ per week (1″ of water should re-wet the soil about 6″ deep). To determine how much water has been applied, set a straight-sided can under the sprinkler.
A word of caution about watering: A single watering during a lawn drought period is likely to do more harm than good. If the grass cannot be kept actively growing with sufficient water, it’s best to let the grass go dormant. Inconsistent or “light” watering during extended dry periods will slow the rate of recovery when adequate rainfall does occur. Some things you can do when water is short or expensive are:
1.) Water only that part of the lawn where improvement is most important.
2.) Water only in the early morning.
3.) Aerate the lawn to increase water penetration.
4.) Mow regularly until growth slows, but at a higher, rather than lower, cutting height.
5.) Make each watering consistent and one that wets the soil 6″ deep.

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