As the summer sun becomes hotter and hotter, yards all over the country begin to suffer. Homeowners usually choose one of two options. Either they let their lawn become straw-like and wait for the next season of green grass, or they spend hundreds of dollars and water their grass almost daily. However, you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. With the proper measures taken, you can keep your lawn looking beautiful through the summer heat without watching your water bill skyrocket.
Lead with Soil
The first good tip for any summer planting is to make sure your soil is right before planting. By adding large amounts of organic compost to your soil, you will enable it to retain more moisture than soil that is on the sandier side. Organic compost can consist of anything from homemade compost to well-rotted manure. Good topsoil will not only create more drought resistant grass, but it will also help it to handle any weather that comes your way.
Picking the Right Seed
After your soil is nice and healthy, you will want to make sure you are sprinkling your yard with the correct seeds. Different species of grass are more drought tolerant than others, especially if you live in an area that is especially dry in the summers. Grass types like Buffalo, Bermuda, Bahia, and Oysia can go quite a long time with very little water, so they are most ideal for drought resistance.
Don’t Add to Stress
When the heat reaches extreme conditions, your yard will be under some stress. To keep from adding to that stress, try to avoid applying herbicides and fertilizer, don’t aerate your lawn, and practice good mowing. This means that when mowing your lawn, you should only be cutting about the top one third of the grass. This will keep the soil better shaded and prevent it from drying out quite so much.
Best Time to Water
The fact of the matter is you will have to water your lawn at least a little bit in drought conditions. However, you don’t want to give it too much or too little or do it at the wrong time of the day. You will want to give your lawn about one inch of water a week by deeply drenching it a few times. Sprinkling your lawn does less good, wastes more water, and will likely make your grass roots weak. When you do water, it is better to do it in the morning when the temperature is cooler, as it will evaporate a lot less. If you water by sprinkler, make sure all the water you are dispensing is getting only on the grass and not watering the sidewalk. Fresh water is a precious resource that should not be wasted.
If you follow all the tips listed above, your lawn is much more likely to survive the summer heat and lack of rain. Those who are money or water conscious but still value the look of their lawn can get the best of both worlds if they follow the proper procedures. A drought tolerant lawn is not too difficult to implement and is much less problematic to maintain. It will be worth the work!
Written by Mike West, owner of WestCo Grounds Maintenance. WestCo provides the best solutions to lawn care Jefferson City MO has to offer. They also specialize in irrigation and lawn sprinkler service.