We are in the midst of an extreme drought here in Texas, the 6th driest year in the past 128 years according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. This has made it challenging to keep lawns green and beautiful as water restrictions are in place and your lawn may likely suffer from drought-stress. We’ll cover several drought recovery pointers in this blog, including mowing, dormancy, irrigation, and more.
Mow in the morning or evening and avoid cutting during the heat of the day to mitigate mowing stress during drought conditions. See our mowing recommendations below:
- Bermuda grass: 1” for dwarf varieties, and 2” for others (mow weekly to prevent thatch layers!)
- Augustine: 3-4″
- Zoysia: 2-3” (depending on the variety)
Keep your mower blades sharp! This is very important, as dull blades can cause additional stress for your grass. Sharp blades mean a clean cut that promotes faster healing. Additionally, regularly clean your mower blades to avoid spreading diseases like Helminthosporium. If part of your lawn is infected, make sure to wipe down the blades with alcohol before mowing the rest of your grass. You can ask your mowers to do this.
Irrigation system checks are important to ensure proper coverage of your entire lawn.
- You may need to reassess your controller’s settings with yard slope and the soil compaction & depth in mind
- These are all factors that will impact the amount your lawn can absorb during a cycle.
- Our pros can help you with this process!
You can check your city water districts for rebates on irrigation system inspections. Many cities provide rebates or reimbursements for upgrading sprinkler heads.
According to the Austin American-Statesman’s article published July 8, “Dry soil tends to beget drought, forecasters say, because without moisture to absorb the sun’s heat, the radiated heat increases air temperatures, which then leads to more dryness on the ground.”
So, how can you increase moisture in your soil with strict watering restrictions? We are utilizing Hydretain, a moisture manager that attracts humidity and traps vapor in the soil, transforming it into plant-useable water droplets. Not only does it increase watering retention by 50%, but it also improves water dispersion throughout your yard.
Due to the drought, your lawn may experience summer dormancy. This means grass will stop growing and turn brown but recover when water is available during late summer or early fall, says the TA&M AgriLife Extension. Likelihood of summer dormancy depends on your yard’s root system during periods of active growth. When your lawn cannot develop deep and healthy roots, it is susceptible to drought damage and summer dormancy.
According to the Lawn Care Nut, you can mist your lawn in the afternoon to provide a cool down for your turf. This isn’t deep watering, but rather a way for evaporation to provide a cooling effect in high temps.
Under normal conditions, turf grass needs 1” weekly but with the extreme heat and drought, we are seeing this may still not be enough in areas receiving full sunlight all day. The Lawn Care Nut recommends you water 1/2″ – 3/4″ per cycle, 3x a week. This will encourage deeper roots.
With watering restrictions in effect, it’s okay to wait a few days before watering in your fertilization application if needed. Doing so will not impact the efficacy of treatments.
Stress & Disease
To limit damage on your lawn, decrease traffic as it is a source of turf stress.
It may be confusing to determine the difference between drought stress and disease on your lawn. Here is a quick description of the common stressors we are seeing on lawns this summer:
- Insect damage – Chinch bug & Bermuda Mite damage results in yellowish orange color and discoloration
- Mower Scorch – discoloration in areas of machinery traffic
- Helminthosporium – damage appears orange brown
What We’re Doing
During the summer, we are applying Round 5 of our fertilization program. This round has loads of benefits for your lawn, especially these as we navigate the drought:
- Potassium gives the lawn the strength it needs to fight off stress drought & disease
- Phosphorous helps develop and strengthen roots
- We are utilizing liquid treatments with low-time release
- Minerals to ease drought stress
Our techs will have their trained eyes on your little piece of Texas to look out for pests and diseases that are especially active during the drought. Catching these issues early will help in quicker recovery and limiting damage.
Keep Your Lawn Healthy all Summer Long!
Proudly servicing lawns from Waco to Austin & San Antonio