Why does my grass look tired in the summer, even though I water it regularly? We hear this question frequently, and it’s a good one. The lawn needs a change from season to season, and what worked for the grass in spring might leave it starving for water in the summer – what we call a “drought stressed lawn.” You'll see it in the brown grass that's greener in the shade, and lack of bounce-back when you walk on your lawn. It’s not hard to fix and common in Utah.
If your lawn is suffering from drought stress, here are some things to keep in mind to get your lawn looking great again.
Water Comes in Through the Roots
Remember, plants drink from their roots, and your goal in watering is to provide refreshment where they can use it. As the weather gets hotter, light watering evaporates before it sinks into the soil, and the grassroots could stay dry. Lawns adapt by going dormant, turning brown and waiting for the drought to pass. It’s hard to tell the difference between dormant and dying without testing, though.
The good news is that drought stress in your lawn is not a permanent condition. Those brown patches of grass that can show up during the hotter part of the summer are a protective mechanism that many plants, including lawn grasses, will activate when they're not getting enough water. There are several ways to deal with lawn drought, but first, you must identify the problem.
Lawn Aeration Can Help Reach the Roots
Our lawn aeration services help everything you do for your lawn reach further into the soil, especially watering. It’s a great way to encourage resilient grass growth, and help your lawn to remain strong year after year. Your summer watering will reach further, stay in the soil longer, keep the grass absorbing moisture to stay healthy.
The Grub Question
Grub infestations can look a lot like a dry lawn but the roots are not just dry, they’re being eaten by the grubs. We can inspect for grubs and perform preventive and corrective grub treatments.
Changing Your Watering Strategy
From spring to summer, it’s important to change how you water so that grass plants drink deeply in hot, dry weather. Rather than just wetting the lawn, you need to make sure that the soil is soaking up the water and holding it for the grass. Watering is more effective between evening and early morning when the sun isn’t pulling water right into the air from the surface.
Eliminate Drought-Stressed Lawns in Utah
We’re glad to give you some spring training and get you ready to water effectively during the summer months. Here’s our local guide to watering which will get you started – give us a call for personalized, expert lawn help in Davis County and Weber County, Utah.
What to Do About Lawn Drought Stress?
- Check and clean your sprinkler filter heads. A clogged filter head can prevent your sprinkler system from watering the whole lawn surface. Most sprinkler systems have a simple mechanism that can be disassembled with a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Cleaning the filters out or replacing them can bring your lawn back to life.
- Water the lawn sufficiently for your type of grass. A lot of people try to keep their lawns green and their water bills down by running the sprinklers frequently, but with less water. Hello, drought stress! Deeper watering to reach the root structures works better. Cool seasonal grasses need at least an inch of water per week, for example, split over two half-inch watering sessions.
- Raise your lawnmower blade. The root structure for any plant is usually proportional to the height of the plant. Raising your lawn mower blade to a height of at least 3 inches will allow the grass to grow a little bit taller and the roots will reach that much deeper. This allows the roots to reach more water and helps prevent drought stress.
- Don't fertilize your lawn during the hottest part of the summer. Fertilizer is usually not a good solution for drought stress in plants. In fact, it can make the situation worse!
- Call Big League Lawns. We have more than 40 years' experience in lawn care, serving Weber and Davis counties in Utah. We'll provide you with a free lawn analysis if you give us a call at 801-917-6572.