Keeping your grass healthy during water restrictions can seem nearly impossible. But, lucky for homeowners, there are a number of things you can do in order to keep your grass healthy while your city or state government has imposed water restrictions. From mowing techniques to the types of fertilizer you use, limiting the water intake your lawn experiences doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. In this post from The Grass Outlet blog, we’ll discuss some ways to keep your grass healthy during water restrictions.
Mow Your Grass High Using Sharp Blades
Grass that is best suited for warm seasons tends to be thicker during the summer, as the warm weather leads to increased growth rates. It’s important to keep your mower blades as sharp as possible so it’s capable of cutting your grass even in this extra dense state. Additionally, by mowing your grass with sharp blades, you’re able to give it an instant boost in appearance due to the efficiency of the mower.
Furthermore, during the summer, you should keep your grass on the taller end of the recommended grow height of your particular variety. Taller leaves result in deeper roots, and deeper roots have the ability to access water that is stored deep in the soil, which is essential for good health during warm weather. Another reason you should keep your grass taller during the summer is that mowing the lawn stresses it further, as it will already be under stress due to the hot weather. By keeping your grass tall, you can also keep your soil cooler, which helps the roots below thrive.
Proper Irrigation Techniques
For the past several years, the Central Texas area has been breaking records in the number of continuous days of weather in the triple-digits, paired with no rainfall. As of August 2022, water restrictions in the area are at Stage 2, meaning that your irrigation, sprinklers, or hoses can only run at certain hours on certain days based on your address. Restrictions on your irrigation systems make it much more critical to ensure they are in top operational order.
Additionally, you should ensure that you properly irrigate your lawn based on the soil type, the soil condition, as well as the weather conditions in your area. It’s also necessary to consider the 5 S’s of your lawn: soil, shade, slope, species, and season – within each irrigation zone when determining the best runtime for your yard’s specific environment and irrigation system’s sprinkler heads. Further, you can enjoy the maximum benefits of your irrigation system’s precipitation during the early morning hours (2-9 AM), during which wind speeds are generally lower, and evaporation is less likely to occur. Read our Irrigation article to learn how to determine the proper irrigation schedule for your yard.
Take Advantage of Grass Clippings
There are more negative effects of the dry spell on your lawn than just the stress that comes with high temperatures and drought. Not only is water an essential medium for nutrient intake, but the lack of water can also result in higher soil temperatures. This, in turn, affects the SOM – or soil organic matter – decomposition, increasing the release of carbon dioxide. Grass clippings can assist in reducing the temperature of your soil by simply leaving them on your lawn. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn can reduce soil temperature, increase infiltration of water into the soil, improve the water storage capacity of the lawn, and help slow down organic matter mineralization. Be advised that grass clippings must be evenly distributed across the lawn. Dense clumps of clippings can block out essential sunlight and choke out your grass.
Avoid High-Salt Fertilizers
High-salt fertilizers can burn your lawn when it’s already suffering due to the high temperature of the sun. If your soil has been tested, and it’s discovered that it’s in need of nutrients, you should use a summer-friendly, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, as fast-release nitrogen will burn your already stressed lawn. Ensure that you carefully read the label, and follow all of the instructions, especially regarding “watering in” the product. It’s also important to not over-fertilize your lawn, as over-fertilized lawns almost always use much more water. Finally, if you do decide to fertilize your lawn, look for a higher third number (potassium content) that will strengthen roots and and generally improve the grass’s health, helping it stand up to stress and drought better.
Consider Applying A Wetting Agent
If there are some areas of the soil that are unable to properly absorb water, it can result in stress spots all throughout the lawn. Though this is not a cure-all solution, a wetting agent can be beneficial in helping the water infiltrate the soil. It should be noted that a wetting agent will only assist when the soil is in a hydrophobic state, meaning that it repels water instead of absorbing it. If you notice that water is beading on the surface of your soil, a wetting agent is a great solution.
Is Your Grass Beyond Repair? Contact The Grass Outlet For Grass Turf in Central Texas
At The Grass Outlet, we carry a wide variety of grasses that can more than handle the summer heat in the Central Texas area. If you think your lawn has been damaged by the heat beyond repair, we can be of assistance. Give us a call today for high-quality turf grass in Central Texas and the surrounding areas.