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Natural Lawn Survival Guides in Times of Drought

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

To water your lawn or not to water in time of drought?  Its a question that haunts most all environmentally minded southern Californians over the past 4 years.  As Our drought worsens so does your guilt each time you water your water guzzling lawn.  Here we provide tips on how to cut back water usage and still maintain your natural grass.

One of the first signs I look for in a drought stressed lawn is seeing whether or not my feet leave an impression in the grass as I walk across it. Lawns in need of water, fail to spring back into place once trodden upon. Then there are the obvious visual signs you can detect, even from a distance.

Thirsty grass looses its luster as it gradually changes color from the bright, almost shiny green you are accustomed to seeing, to a dull blue-green or grey-green tint. As conditions worsen, it continues to fade to a tan or wheat color.

So why do some lawns fare better than others when subjected to drought conditions? Why is your neighbor’s yard looking better, assuming you both abide by the same watering restrictions? Part of the answer is in how the lawn was managed before the lack of water became an issue.

Lawns that are mature and well established stand the best chance of beating the heat and water shortages. Here are a few ideas to implement or keep in mind as you work to keep your lawn looking its best this summer.

All lawns benefit from receiving about an inch of water each week. How you deliver that water is an important step in creating a healthy lawn that can tough out the tough times.  In the absence of rain, irrigate your lawn only once or twice a week so that a total of one inch is applied during this period.

Mowing Height

Allow your lawn to grow taller as drought approaches. Although lawn growth will slow or even go into a semi-dormant state during drought, taller blades develop a greater, deeper root system. On average the height of the blade has roots of equal length providing you’ve managed your watering properly. Deep root growth is what you want to encourage. It’s one of the most important elements in survival and recovery.

Grasscycling

When ever you cut the lawn, allow the artificial grass clippings to remain on the lawn. Most mowers today cut the grass blades into such small pieces, they are practically invisible. The benefit to grasscycling is that the clippings return valuable nutrients and moisture to the lawn, not only making your lawn healthier year round, but especially during periods of stress.

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