Drought and heat stress are caused by high heat and lack of rainfall. Unfortunately, this can be particularly bad in the Atlanta, Greenville, and Charlotte areas due to our very hot, dry summers. Luckily, one of the main things you can do is also one of the simplest. Watering consistently is one of the most important maintenance practices in taking care of your lawn. In fact, 80% of a grass plant is comprised of water. When grass does not have adequate water, it will soon turn brown and become dormant.
One indicator of dryness is when grassy areas show a dark bluish-green cast. “Hot Spots” are small to large brown irregularly shaped areas where the soil is more compacted, or underlying material such as rock or tree roots can cause them to become distinctly noticeable and appear to be diseased. You should begin applying water when the soil starts to dry out and before the grass wilts and has a chance to become brown.
You should water 1 to 1 ½ inches per week. One inch of water should rewet the soil about 6 inches deep. (Only 620 gallons of water is required for each 1,000 sq. ft.) To determine how much water has been applied, set a straight sided can under the sprinkler.
A single watering during a drought period is likely to do more harm than good. If the grass cannot be kept actively growing with sufficient water, it is 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:
- Water only the part of the lawn where improvement is most important.
- Water only in the early morning.
- Aerify the lawn to increase water penetration.
- Mow regularly until growth slows, but a higher, rather than lower, cutting height.
- Make each watering consistent and one which wets the soil to a depth of six inches.
We hope this information can help you be preventative in drought and heat stress! As always, we are just a phone call or email away if you have any questions or concerns.