Dealing With Drought: Techniques For Water-Stressed Lawns

Submitted on July 19, 2017

If this summer is anything like last year, many parts of Canada will experience significant hot and dry weather over the season, which can lead to damaged, unhealthy lawns for homeowners.

John Ladds, Operations Manager at Weed Man Canada advises: “Rather than do damage control after the fact, one of the smartest things you can do is to get your lawn prepared beforehand.” He suggests that this year, in anticipation of what could be another brutal summer, there are a few techniques that can be done early to greatly improve your lawn's chances at survival.

Of course, regular and proper maintenance should stave off signs of drought. But as the summer drags on, keeping the grass green and healthy-looking can prove increasingly difficult. Even though grass is resilient, a lawn can survive drought conditions for about to 5-6 weeks before sections of it begin to die off.

Early indications that your lawn may be suffering from drought stress include discoloration to a blue- or gray-tinge, and a lack of elasticity when trod upon. Grass can still survive in this state of extended dormancy and even rebound if it receives care soon enough. How long it can survive being dormant depends largely on how healthy the lawn is prior to the drought. For this reason, experts agree, it’s all about giving your lawn a head start.

“A sound fertilization regimen can make a tremendous difference in your lawn’s health and appearance throughout the summer,” says Ladds. “A better-fed lawn will be denser and have a deeper root system, giving it an advantage when water and nutrients become scarce.”

Experts also suggest smart mowing and watering practices. Keep your mower sharp, and never set to cut more than 1/3 the grass blade at a time. Water early in the morning, deeply and infrequently. If drought signs do begin, cease mowing entirely, and water when you can.

If damage from drought does occur, however, don't fret; there are many professional lawn services that can help nurse your lawn back to health. For example, a regimen of seeding and aeration conducted in the fall, when cooler temperatures and increased rainfall are in store, can do wonders for a summer-damaged lawn.

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