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During times of drought homeowners need to take steps to prepare their lawns to  survive with less water.  The following lawn maintenance practices will help to keep your lawn strong and healthy and better able to survive during extended dry conditions.


Improve soil conditions

Many lawns are grown on compacted soil, due to poor soil conditions and everyday foot traffic. Compacted ground is hard ground. It is not very porous and will not absorb water very easily. Aerating your lawn twice a year will allow the soil to absorb more water quicker, and enable water to penetrate deeper into the soil. This will reduce wasteful water runoff and lessen the need for frequent watering.


Don’t over fertilize

Fertilizing 2 to 3 times a year is sufficient to keep grass healthy. Over fertilizing, especially with high nitrogen fertilizers will promote excessive top growth, requiring more water to maintain.


Don’t water your lawn every day

A lawn that is over watered or watered too often will develop a shallow root system. It’s roots will remain close to the surface where the water is always available. A plant with a shallow root system will need more water more often and not have the ability to survive long periods without adequate moisture.

Water infrequently and deeply

It is better to water less often but for longer periods of time to allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil.  This will promote deeper root growth. A lawn with a more extensive root system will need to be watered less often, being able to reach moisture that is available deeper in the soil.

Water in the early morning or at night

Not watering during the hottest part of the day will help reduce loss of moisture from evaporation, helping to keep water in the soil longer.

Inspect the sprinkler system

A few simple adjustments to keep the sprinkler system operating at peak efficiency can mean big water savings. Check the system for any leaks or heads that are broken. Adjust sprinkler heads for proper coverage. Make sure each head is watering the grass and not the sidewalks or driveways.


Set your mower to the highest position

A longer leaf blade will help promote deeper root growth. Deeper roots will help the grass plant reach moisture available at lower levels in the soil, reducing the need for supplemental watering.

Mow more often

Mow more often, being careful to only cut off 1/3 of the grass blade each time.  Cutting too much off the grass blade at any one time will put the grass in a state of stress and can even cause the grass roots to die, requiring more water to maintain.

Keep mower blades sharp

Dull mower blades will produce what is called “white tipping”, leaving the tops of the grass blades torn and not evenly cut. The injured blades will be more susceptible to disease.

Following these common sense lawn maintenance practices will keep your grass in a strong and healthy state and help prepare your lawn for drought conditions.

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