Dealing with Drought-Stressed Lawns

As temperatures heat up here in Florida, lawns in our area are becoming increasingly drought-stressed. We understand that irrigation can be expensive—particularly in HOA communities—however, when lawns don’t receive enough water, serious problems can arise.

In fact, if your lawn is not adequately watered, you run the risk of losing it.

We realize this is a hot topic (no pun intended) in our region which is why we’ve rounded up some advice on dealing with drought-stressed lawns.

The Importance of Water

 

In general, lawns are relatively resilient and can handle much of what is thrown at them. However, without water, grass will struggle tremendously. Lawns need water for both growth and development and when they don’t receive enough, they can start to die.

There are a number of signs of a drought-stressed lawn. For one, grass that is struggling from lack of water will wilt easily. If you are noticing footprints or mower tracks on your lawn, then your grass is lacking moisture. Healthy lawns spring back from pressure, but drought-stressed lawns will not. Oftentimes, these impressions in the lawn are some of the first signs of a problem—even before changes in the lawn color.

Of course, color changes are certainly another telltale sign, and probably the most known. Lawns won’t necessarily turn brown right away. Instead, they may turn different shades of green and yellow before ultimately turning brown and dying.

How Much Water Does My Lawn Need?

So, how much water does your lawn actually need? Ideally, lawns need one to two inches of consistent water each week. During certain seasons, this water may be supplied by rainfall. However, in the hot months of summer, it is common to experience “dry spells” in which Mother Nature is not supplying ample water. The watering should be ongoing and deep so that it reaches down to the depth of the root system, where it’s really needed.

While established lawns may be able to withstand a couple of weeks without rain or watering—and may even bounce back from brief periods of drought—there can still be long-term consequences. Insufficient water can weaken the grass and make it more prone to problems such as weed infestation. Plus, in time, a lawn that is not receiving enough water will start to die. This could lead to you needing re-sodding, which can be incredibly costly. If you don’t already have an irrigation system installed and you’re worried about the health of your lawn, then it might be something to consider in order to avoid these problems.

If you’re uncertain how much water your lawn is receiving, you can use a rain gauge to tell you exactly how much. You can also do a visual test by probing the soil to see how dry it is. Soil probes either take a sample out of the ground or use electronic sensors to take a measurement of the moisture level. If you don’t have or want to purchase any of these gadgets, you could do a more basic test and attempt to push a screwdriver into the soil. If it’s difficult to do, your soil is dry and needs more water.

Investing in Professional Irrigation

As we mentioned, an irrigation system is an effective solution to your drought concerns. Though an irrigation system may seem like a big expense, if you care about maintaining the health of your lawn, then it’s a feature that you should consider. Most homeowners don’t want to invest the time in effort in hand watering their lawn—or assessing their soil—and we don’t blame them. That can be a lot of work. But an irrigation system will take all of the guesswork and hassle out of it.

Today, irrigation technology has come a long way and has a lot to offer. With “smart irrigation” you can ensure that your lawn is watered when it needs to be. And with the introduction of smart controllers and rain sensors, costly overwatering can be prevented. The watering schedule will be based upon the soil’s needs—so if it’s rained all day, the system will not turn on.

Smart Choices for a Healthy Lawn

Your lawn is important to you. And when it comes to the health of your lawn, doing what you can to preserve and maintain it will pay off with the lush and thick results that you desire. That means sticking to a regular watering schedule during periods of drought—or even better, considering upgrading to a professional irrigation system. When you see the fantastic results, you’ll be happy you did.