Did you planted drought-tolerant grasses in your yard?
Did you chose grasses suited to your climate?
Did you add organic matter to your lawn?
Do you fertilize your lawn often?
Summer drought is is becoming more frequent in many areas. If you live in an area that is becoming prone to drought, you may want to reseed your lawn with one of the drought-tolerant grasses like Bahia grass, Bermuda grass (especially 'Tlfgreen' and 'Vamont'), Buffalo grass (especially 'Prairie' and 'Texoka), Fescue (especially tall fescue, tine fescue, red fescue, 'Titan', 'Tribute', 'Rebel II', and 'Shenandoah'), Wheatgrass (especially 'RoadCrest'), and Zoysia.
Some grasses brown because they aren’t suited to the climate where they are growing. If you don't know what your lawn grasses require, you could be watering them when more moisture is the last thing they need. Zoysia is a good example of this. Although it easily survives as far north as northern New Jersey and southern New York, it grows better in warmer climates. As a result, it is slow to green in the spring and browns out as soon as the weather begins to cool in the early fall. Spend some time learning about the grasses in your yard. If you don’t know what they are, take samples to a local garden center for identification.
Organic matter is a good drought-preventive remedy. Adding compost is the easiest way to add organic matter to your lawn. Compost is the product of the decomposition of a variety of organic materials. Most lawns require a 1/2-inch application every two or three years. However, if your lawn has been browning out because of moisture stress, it’s worth it to apply annually until the problem has been solved. You can simply scatter compost over the lawn in the early spring. Rain and irrigation water will leach the soluble portions into the soil while earthworms and other soil animals will mix it into the top layers.
Lawns should be fertilized. However, the type and quantity of the fertilizer are important for keeping a healthy lawn. Bagged soluble fertilizers are prone to be leached out of the soil and the soil is likely to become compacted because the nutrients are at the surface, and roots don't need to grow down into the soil to find them. The grass will be more susceptible to moisture-stress. Fertilizers like compost, liquid seaweed, and fish emulsion act differently in that a portion of them isn’t immediately available to plants. In the North, add compost in the late summer or early fall. If the lawn is quite weak, repeat this in the early spring. In the South, the best time to feed a lawn is early spring.
Grasses are healthiest when they receive just enough, but not too much, water. So before you water, use the finger test. Stick a finger down into the soil about 3 inches, The bulk of the roots are growing at or above this depth. Wait to water until the soil is no longer moist. If your lawn is disease-free, water in the evening. But move to a morning watering schedule if any diseases, particularly those caused by fungi, are present. When you water, water thoroughly. Keep the sprinkler going until the top 3 inches of soil are moist. Set out a rain gauge where the sprinkler water will fall into it, and use this to check that the grasses are getting at least 1 inch of water a week, whether from rain or irrigation.
Miranda Smith, (2004), Gardener's problem solver, The Reader's digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, New York/Montreal
Hi! I’m Sreten Filipović. I graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Belgrade, with a master's degree in Environmental Protection in Agricultural Systems. I’ve worked as a researcher at Finland's Natural Resources Institute (LUKE) on a project aimed at adapting south-western Finland to drought episodes. I founded a consulting agency in the field of environment and agriculture to help farmers who want to implement the principles of sustainability on their farms. I’m also a founding member of the nonprofit organization Ecogenesis from Belgrade whose main goal is non-formal education on the environment and ecology. In my spare time, I like to write blog posts about sustainability, the environment, animal farming, horticulture, and plant protection. I’ve also published several science-fiction short stories. You can find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/sreten-filipovi%C4%87-515aa5158/