Before the Drought
For existing lawns, maintenance 30 to 45 days prior to an expected drought, dry period, or excessively hot time of year can have a real impact on your lawn's survivability. The idea is to make the lawn as strong and healthy as possible beforehand. Here's how:
- Reduce thatch and compaction.
- Reduce or eliminate nitrogen fertilizer and increase potassium fertilizer.
- Water the lawn late at night or early in the morning.
- Water infrequently and deeply.
- Sharpen your mower blade two or three times per season.
- Mow often so you never remove more than the top third of grass blades.
- Leave clippings on the lawn.
- Avoid using herbicides and pesticides.
Surviving the Drought
Once the drought hits, or once temperatures reach high levels for a week or more, take these additional steps:
- Raise the mowing height 25 percent or more.
- Reduce traffic on the lawn.
- Increase watering on areas near buildings and other heat-reflecting surfaces as well as high or sloped areas.
If the drought is extended or water-use restrictions are implemented, take these additional steps:
- Eliminate all traffic on the lawn.
- Restrict watering to the areas that are most important to you.
- Accept that the unwatered portion of your lawn will be dormant and brown until conditions improve.