How to Keep Your Grass Green During Drought

Droughts are devastating on lawns. They can stress the grass, leaving it looking a little brown and lackluster and more susceptible to weeds, pests, and diseases.

However, recovering a drought-stressed lawn isn't as simple as simply dousing it with water and expecting it to return to its healthy green color. Prevention is key—the healthier the lawn and the deeper its roots, the more resilient your grass will be to heat and drought damage. Making small adjustments to your mowing, watering, and overall lawn maintenance practices can strengthen your turf and ensure it stays healthy even in dry conditions.


5 Practices for Maintaining a Healthy Lawn in Drought Conditions

During drought, your grass may turn a bluish-gray hue or show signs of browning, indicating it is not receiving enough water. It may also start to thin out, grow slower, or wilt, losing its healthy, upright appearance despite regular fertilizer application.

Other early signs of drought stress include lingering footprints after stepping on the grass, increased weed growth, and dry, crumbly soil.

Streamline Your Watering Habits

If you notice early signs of drought stress, water your lawn immediately. Contrary to common belief, you don't need to water your lawn daily. Most grasses can stay healthy with about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week during the growing season and 2 to 3 inches a week during prolonged dry spells to keep your lawn green. These amounts are generally based on the needs of warm-season grass varieties that thrive in Florida's warm, humid climate. However, always check the watering restrictions in your area.

We advise watering your lawn in the coolest part of the day, ideally early in the morning. This effectively allows the water to reach the root zone and minimizes evaporation during the day's heat. Avoid watering in the evening, as this can leave your lawn wet overnight, increasing the risk of attracting pests and diseases.

Mow Higher But Less Often

When stressed, grass tends to grow slowly and may even stop growing altogether, entering dormancy as a survival mode. It's advisable to avoid mowing whenever possible until the grass returns to its healthy state.

Keeping grass blades longer also has other benefits, such as providing more shade to the soil and grass crowns, which slows down water evaporation during the day. It also encourages deeper root growth as the roots search for water deeper into the soil. If you must mow your lawn, set your mower blades higher. For most warm-season grass varieties like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine, we recommend a height of 3.5 to 4 inches.


Avoid Additional Stress

In addition to reducing your mowing frequency, you can take additional steps to minimize stress on the grass and maintain a green lawn. Reduce foot traffic by avoiding walking on the grass whenever possible and dedicate a pathway for regular access instead.

Additionally, refrain from dragging heavy equipment across the grass which can also cause damage. Instead of using a mower, manually remove weeds to avoid further disturbing the grass. This is particularly important during hot weather or water shortages when the grass is more delicate and less able to recover from stress.

Mulch Grass Clippings

Contrary to common perception, grass clippings do not contribute to thatch buildup on your lawn. Spreading them on your lawn can instead recycle nutrients back into the soil, helping keep your grass healthy. It supplements your fertilizing efforts and promotes a healthier, more sustainable lawn care routine.

Mulching grass clippings also helps conserve water by reducing moisture loss through evaporation. Use a mulching mower to cut the clippings into fine pieces and distribute them evenly across the lawn.

Use Drought-Tolerant Grass

Warm-season grasses, particularly Bermuda grass, are known for growing deep roots, making them impressively drought-tolerant than other grass varieties. They can thrive on as little as an inch of water per week, making them appropriate for regions prone to frequent or prolonged droughts. Establishing a lawn with warm-season grass can be a wise decision to ensure your lawn stays lush and green even in challenging conditions.

These grass varieties are widely available as sod or grass plugs, providing more benefits than seed. Being mature grass, they establish way faster than seed, providing a green cover that can crowd out weeds and reduce erosion risks in a shorter time frame. They also usually require less water than seed during the establishment stage, which can lead to a more successful and sustainable lawn in the long run.


Prioritize Lawn Maintenance Year-Round with NutriPod®

Maintaining a lush lawn is a year-round endeavor that goes beyond regular watering—it also involves timely fertilizer applications. Fertilizing provides essential nutrients to keep your lawn green and healthy.

Remember, healthy grass is more resistant to drought conditions. NutriPod® is a specially designed lawn fertilizer for new grass plugs. It contains a high amount of nitrogen for lush growth, along with phosphorus and potassium for healthy root growth and improved weather resistance.

The granules are encased in dissolvable pods, each placed in a planting hole before inserting grass plugs. This provides a slow release of nutrients, keeping your lawn fed and nourished for up to 45 days without the risks of over-fertilizing.

In addition to fertilizing, improving soil conditions can help your lawn withstand drought stress. Adding soil amendments like compost and other organic matter can improve soil structure and water retention. Additionally, aerating and dethatching can boost soil health by reducing compaction and allowing better air and water penetration. These practices should be done way ahead of the drought season to avoid stress on the grass.

Should You Keep Your Grass Green During Drought?

In some situations, it's better to let your grass become dormant during a drought. While it may turn brown, a healthy lawn should be fine and will likely green up again when the weather conditions become more favorable.

Many homeowners panic at the sight of brown grass and resort to watering excessively, which can actually do more harm than good. By using the right fertilizer, like NutriPod®, and following proper lawn care practices, you can ensure that your lawn remains healthy and resilient, even during periods of drought.

Trust NutriPod® to keep your lawn nourished and thriving. Visit our website to learn more and order yours today!

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