You may be wondering if it's possible to maintain a green lawn responsibly during a drought. Although it's possible to keep your lawn acceptably green during a moderate drought, you may not want to strive to keep it as lush and green as a golf course. The following tips can help keep your lawn healthy while still conserving water.
Tip #1: Slow Down With the Fertilizer
Fertilizer provides lawns with necessary nutrients, but a sharp increase in nutrients can encourage a growth spurt. This growth spurt will increase the water needs for the lawn. During a drought, your goal is to maintain the lawn and not to encourage increased growth rates. Instead, fertilize once in the fall, about six weeks before the first expected frost. This will replenish the nutrients in the soil from the summer without encouraging faster growth.
Tip #2: Avoid the Low Mowing Trap
Setting the lawn mower blades to their lowest setting scalps the lawn, so that you lose the mulching benefits of longer grass. During a drought year aim to keep the grass length around 3 ½ to 4 inches. This allows the grass to shade the soil, which slows evaporation. Cutting too short can also cause the lawn to burn, resulting in dry, dead spots.
Tip #3: Let the Clipping Lie
Many people collect clippings in an attached mower bag as they mow, or they rake them up afterward. Instead, try using a mulching mower and then just leave the clippings in place. The clippings break down quickly, returning nutrients to the soil. They also further mulch the ground around the grass blades so that less moisture is lost to evaporation.
Tip #4: Water Wisely
Many cities set up watering restrictions during drought, so your first responsibility is to check for and follow these if they apply. If not, get in the habit of infrequent but deep watering. Early in the morning, before the sun is up, is the best time to water so that the moisture has time to soak in before it evaporates. Try watering deeply every other day or every two days. Water just long enough to soak the top few inches of soil, or to the depth of the grass roots.
Tip #5: Open Up the Ground
Finally, each spring take the time to aerate your lawn. This process removes small plugs of soil. This results in looser soil that allows moisture to soak in more deeply. By loosening the soil, you allow your lawn to make the most of every bit of moisture during dry years. If you need help with aeration or any other lawn care process, contact a local service for assistance.
For more information, contact a company like 5 Star Lawnscaping.