How to Protect Your Lawn During Drought Season
With the warmest and driest part of the year now under way, it is important to start thinking about irrigating your lawn. Irrigation is a crucial part of lawn care in that a good lawn is as important for property as it is for residential curb appeal. In both cases, a healthy lawn helps to create a good first impression. However, the fact that it is drought season means that water conservation is also important. To keep your lawn in good shape over the length of the drought season, follow these irrigation tips:
Use an Aerator and a De-thatcher
Thatch and soil compaction can keep air and moisture from getting to the roots of your grass. Thatch is the buildup of clippings and other organic matter in your lawn. Thatch can absorb moisture before it gets to the roots, which is especially problematic during drought season. In addition, water is more likely to run off if the soil under your lawn has become compacted. Perform aerationand de-thatching in the spring and late summer, as these are the times of year when your grass will be growing fastest. An aerator punches small holes in the soil to ensure that water will get to the grass roots, and a de-thatcher removes the thatch.
Keep Your Blades Sharp
Dull lawnmower blades tear the grass, and torn grass needs more water to overcome the stress of mowing. It’s actually pretty simple to tell if your blades need to be sharpened. Take a piece of grass after a fresh cutting, if the top is a nice clean cut, the blades are fine. However, if the grass is jagged, the blades need to be sharpened or replaced.
Dull blades that leave jagged edges leave your lawn susceptible to diseases and the lawn will appear brown after a couple days.
Here’s how to Sharpen your blades yourself:
If you’re feeling particularly handy, here is a step by step guide on how to sharpen the blades yourself.
Water it Adequately
Once drought season is under way, it is better to water your lawn thoroughly a couple times per week than to water less thoroughly every day. When watering, ensure that you saturate the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. You can determine the depth of the wet soil by inserting a probe. It will penetrate saturated soil easily but will meet resistance once it touches dry soil. Once the soil is wet enough, you do not need to water again unless the grass starts to show signs of stress from the drought. Note that those signs can start showing in less than five days.
Take Steps to Prevent Run-Off
Pay attention to water running off from your lawn. Note how long it takes for water to start running off and set the timer on your sprinkler to stop watering just prior to that point. Wait 30 minutes and then water again until the soil is suitably wet.
Quality lawn care is an important part of presenting a good first impression to your neighbors.