Lawn Care Tips for Drought Conditions
If you live in an area that’s prone to drought conditions, you’re probably no stranger to strict water usage laws. While these laws are often easy to abide by, they can make caring for your lawn seem like an uphill battle.
Fortunately, keeping your lawn healthy and vibrant amidst a drought doesn’t have to be an arduous undertaking. Well-kept grass is crucial to a presentable exterior, so homeowners looking to accentuate a house’s outward appearance should stay on top of lawn care — even if they hail from drought-prone climes. With a little bit of ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking, you can ensure that your lawn continues to thrive throughout your area’s next drought.
Alter Your Mowing Schedule
For some lawn care enthusiasts, weekly mowing is a no-brainer. These individuals prefer to keep their grass at a very specific height and can’t stand to see it grow beyond that point. While short, meticulously mowed grass does look good, it can be difficult to care for, especially during droughts. Sure, many golf courses and businesses sport consistently short grass, but these lawns receive a level of care that most homeowners are unable to provide.
Furthermore, keeping your lawn short isn’t going to do it any favors during a drought. The shorter the grass, the less equipped it is to retain moisture. Since moisture retention is essential to your lawn’s survival, a drought is the perfect impetus to rethink your mowing schedule. In addition to being bad for your grass, weekly mowing is downright unnecessary in drought conditions.
Slowed growth eliminates the need for weekly trims, so no matter how much you relish mowing day, you’ll need to put it on hold. For best results, mow no more than once every other week and amend your desired height by 25 percent. This will ensure that your grass is well-equipped to soak up and retain moisture.
Rethink Your Watering Practices
In an effort to keep their lawns nourished, many homeowners inadvertently overwater them. Not only are most lawns overwatered, they’re watered far too frequently, and many lawn care enthusiasts have fallen into the trap of watering daily for 15 minutes.
Instead of making your lawn more resilient, this can ultimately weaken it and render it unable to weather drought conditions. If a lawn dies immediately after a drought has begun, it’s a safe bet that overwatering played a role.
To strengthen your grass and make it more amenable to droughts, you’ll need to rethink your watering practices. For starters, instead of watering daily, do it weekly. Additionally, instead of watering for 15 minutes, do so for an hour — or until your grass has received 1 to 1.5 inches of water.
Watering deeply but infrequently will toughen up your lawn and help break its dependency on daily feedings. This will also help curb the formation of weeds and increase your lawn’s chances of survival in a drought. If you live in an area where droughts are regular occurrences, such prep work is essential.
Invest in Water-saving Tools
It’s easy to take certain resources for granted when living in a developed country. In many parts of the world, ready access to fresh water is far from a given. As such, watching people thoughtlessly waste water on their lawns can be frustrating for conservationists and eco-minded individuals.
Even more vexing is the fact that many lawn sprinklers are horribly inefficient and wind up spraying more water onto streets and sidewalks than onto the actual grass. Both your lawn and the environment deserve better.
While they’re often pricier than run-of-the-mill sprinklers, automatic irrigation systems are also far more efficient watering tools. These systems provide lawns with a set amount of water at specified dates and times and seldom spray outside of their respective ranges.
Adding to their convenience, the timers on many irrigation systems are able to recognize an array of grass species, climate conditions and soil types, ensuring that wasted water is kept to a bare minimum. Additionally, annual lawn aeration plays an important role in helping your lawn make the most of the water it’s given.
Consider Drought-resistant Grasses
The strictness of an area’s water usage laws generally depends on the severity of the drought. Although many areas will allow residents to use a set amount of water for lawn care purposes, this isn’t always the case. For example, it isn’t unusual for an area suffering a prolonged drought to forbid lawn watering until such time as conditions improve.
While this can be a hard pill for lawn care enthusiasts to swallow, it’s often a necessary measure for conserving water. After all, as much as you may value your lawn, healthy grass is hardly a necessity. Continuing to water your lawn in violation of these laws is likely to draw the ire of your neighbors, earn you hefty fines and land you in hot water with local law enforcement.
Of course, this isn’t to say that people who reside in drought-prone areas should simply give up on having lawns. There are many different species of grass, and a fair number of them can weather droughts with little to no assistance. While you’ll find an abundance of options from which to choose, buffalo grass, fescues and certain varieties of bluegrass are among the most popular choices for homeowners in areas affected by drought.
As the name suggests, drought-resistant grasses often require less water than other types of grass and can go long periods without water. To determine which species of drought resistant grass is right for you, speak with an expert at your local garden center or conduct some research online.
As droughts become increasingly common, it’s important for homeowners to do their part when it comes to conserving water. However, this doesn’t have to mean abandoning your lawn. Although it will require a little bit of effort on your part, keeping your lawn healthy during a drought is entirely possible.
Caring for a lawn in a drought-stricken area is neither difficult nor time-consuming, so if lawn maintenance is among your foremost passions, don’t let drought conditions slow you down. With the help of the previously discussed pointers, you can keep your lawn looking its best while remaining in complete compliance with your area’s water usage laws.