To water or not to water…that is the question

Lawn drought

You might be wondering whether to regularly water you dry lawn during a drought, or essentially leave it alone. Each option has its pros and cons.

During a dry season, many lawns will show initial symptoms of drought stress. The most telltale signs of drought stress is the crunchy tan of grass that has entered dormancy; the plant is still alive, but the leaves dry up and die. This helps the plant conserve water and survive a drought.

You can water regularly enough to avoid drought stress altogether, or you can let your lawn go dormant and water only occasionally to help it survive. Turf death can occur if there is no rain for 4-6 weeks and no irrigation is applied.

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

Watering to keep your lawn green
Water turf two to three times weekly – deeply, a good soaking, so you don’t have to water daily. Watering in the early-morning hours is most effective; watering in the evening could encourage disease or pests.

  • Advantages: Turf will stay green, aesthetically pleasing and actively growing; ground remains soft so it can be used for recreation; deep soaking will foster deep roots, which will help plants better survive a prolonged drought.
  • Disadvantages: Higher water bills.

Letting turf go dormant
Once the lawn turns brown and goes dormant, you can’t tell if a lawn is dying unless you water and wait to see the response. That is why we advise to water once every two weeks with one-half inch of water. This amount of water will not green up the turf, but it will increase long-term survival during long dry spells.

  • Advantages: Avoid irrigation costs; most turf species are drought-tolerant and will survive typical droughts.
  • Disadvantages: Difficult to tell when turf is getting too dry and needs water to stay alive; lawn is brown and has poor aesthetics; hard soil makes turf less usable for recreation; turf is more susceptible to injury and will not recover until rain returns.

When lawns are dry, it is important to stay off them where possible to prevent substantial damage. Once rains return, the turf will begin to recover and grow new leaves within two weeks.

To aid recovery we recommend applying a lawn fertiliser treatment. This will quickly break down to allow rapid uptake of nutrients. This will help you to gain a healthy, lush and vigorous lawn which can withstand many lawn issues, such as weeds, moss growth, disease and drought. If you are interested in a lawn treatment then please click here.

Lawn care treatments available in Market Harborough, Kibworth, Great Glen and surrounding areas.