Drought Survival 101: Play Defense

We all know that prolonged dry spells seem to be hitting more of the country every year, and lasting longer than they used to. When a drought hits your area, follow this plan of action to help your lawn survive.

Spread the wealth. If you’re fortunate enough to have some warning that a hot, dry period is looming in the not-too-distant future, give your lawn extra protection by applying another ½-inch layer of compost. (This should be in addition to the layer you spread earlier in the spring.)

Hold the chow. Feeding your lawn during drought will only add to its stress level. And stressed-out grass is a sitting duck for pests, diseases, and weeds.

Declare a truce. Speaking of pests, diseases, and weeds, if they do show up, just ignore them until cooler, wetter weather arrives. Believe it or not, engaging in battle now will only make things worse!

Keep watering. Continue your normal watering routine for as long as your City Fathers and Mothers allow. And be sure to perform this chore early in the morning, so as little H2O as possible is lost to evaporation. Whatever you do, don’t water in the evening because grass that stays wet after dark — especially on a hot night — is fair prey for foul fungi.

If a drought strikes, take a tip from Grandma Putt and stay off the lawn as much as possible — regardless of whether you’re still able to water, or you’ve had to let the grass go dormant. Otherwise, the added trauma of foot traffic and other activity just may put that turf over the edge, and it’ll never come back to life. As Grandma Putt used to say, “When in doubt, sit it out!”