SALEM, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and turf specialists, along with The Lawn Institute offer steps to prepare your lawn for this years drought season.
It looks like this summer could bring another long drought season and homeowners should prepare their lawn to help it withstand the long, dry summer months, said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. By taking these preparations, you will greatly improve the health and stress tolerance of your lawn in difficult conditions.
1. Reduce or eliminate nitrogen fertilizer. It overly promotes leaf growth at the cost of rooting activity. Fertilize in the fall when top growth slows and root growth increases.
2. Avoid all weed killers (herbicides) when its hot. They can cause stress on turf plants.
3. Reduce thatch and compaction as early in the year as possible so moisture and air can reach the roots easily. Thatch acts like a sponge, capturing water before it reaches roots, while compaction will increase rapid run-off at the cost of deep saturation.
4. Sharpen the mower blade several times during the turf-growing season. Dull blades shred rather than cleanly cut grass and shredded turf can promote disease and can greatly increase water losses.
5. Mow only as needed and when it’s cooler. No matter how you cut it, grasses lose moisture after every mowing.
6. Mow as high as possible, no more than the top third of the grass, throughout the year to promote deep rooting and maximize soil shading. Although studies have shown that taller grasses can use more water, there is a greater benefit to deep roots and reduced soil moisture loss from evaporation.
7. Leave clippings to add moisture, nutrients and a mulching effect; however, break up clumps because they will block the sun and heat as they decay, killing the under-lying grass.
8. Employ a responsible water usage program during the dry months.
- Rethink your expectations of your lawn. Dark green lawns may not be the healthiest or the most practical in light of potential water shortages.
- Check your irrigation system to ensure water is landing uniformly where you want it and not on impervious surfaces.
- Water early in the morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures and less evaporative losses to the afternoon winds and hot sun.
- Water infrequently and deeply to encourage roots to go deeper where moisture remains available for longer periods of time.
- Let the grass go dormant naturally by withholding water, except for a quarter-inch every four to six weeks to keep the vital grass crowns hydrated and capable of greening up when temperatures cool and moisture is again available.
9. Reduce traffic on the lawn at all times if possible, and especially during the heat of the day when foot traffic and lawn mowers can injure the grass plants and cause almost immediate dehydration. When cooler, wetter weather returns, help your lawn recover from a drought by watering deeply. This will wash dust off the leaves, re-hydrate the dormant crowns and initiate root growth.
About Grass Seed USA
Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists with a wealth of experience in studying, growing and harvesting grass and grass seed. The coalition seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. For more information, visit www.weseedamerica.com.
- ^ Grass Seed USA (cts.businesswire.com)
- ^ The Lawn Institute (cts.businesswire.com)
- ^ www.weseedamerica.com (cts.businesswire.com)
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