10 Tips for Saving Your Lawn During a Drought

Team McFly Sep 06, 2023
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brown grass
Table of Contents
  1. "Sustainable Lawn Care: Eco-Friendly Tips to Preserve Your Lawn in a Drought"
    1. Water-Saving Tips and Strategies for a Lush Lawn
  2. 6. Don’t Apply Pesticides
    1. Conclusion:
    2. Recent Featured Articles:

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

"Sustainable Lawn Care: Eco-Friendly Tips to Preserve Your Lawn in a Drought"

Lawns become dormant during drought conditions as a natural defense mechanism, but their roots remain alive underneath the surface, ready to return once conditions improve.

Maintaining a lush lawn during a drought requires constant, deep irrigation. Use our 10 Tips for Saving Your Lawn During a Drought to ensure it thrives during dry spells.

Water-Saving Tips and Strategies for a Lush Lawn

1. Don’t Mow

The grass is designed to shut down and become dormant during drought conditions to alleviate stress on itself and its soil base.

Constant lawn mowing during drought-stricken conditions places additional strain on an already stressed grass lawn, leading it to wither and turn brown.

For optimal results, only mow when necessary and remove no more than the top one-third of the grass blade at once when doing so - this allows roots to absorb moisture more effectively while preventing thatch buildup.

Watering deeply and frequently will help to sustain a healthy lawn during a drought. De-thatchers and aeration must also be employed regularly to break up thatch so the grass can better absorb any moisture it receives.

For best results, it's recommended that water be applied early morning to minimize evaporation; only water where needed - no sidewalks, roads, or driveways!

watering grass

2. Water in the Morning

Many regions experience periods of drought. When this occurs, one of the first visible indicators is often wilting grass - usually with its characteristic grayish-blue color and footprints remaining after being walked over as indicators of stress from drought conditions.

Under drought conditions, early morning is the optimal time for watering. Since the sun has not yet come up, the soil remains saturated with moisture that won't evaporate away before the day's heat has kicked in.

Watering at night and midday when the sun is at its hottest harms grass growth and will only cause it to wither away and burn.

Instead, leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing for increased soil moisture retention, while de-thatching using a power rake and then reseeding will allow your lawn's grassroots to take in any available moisture more readily.


3. Mow High

Mowing high (3.5 inches or higher) will help your lawn become more drought-resistant. Taller turfgrass will shade roots, cool them down, and maintain soil moisture by limiting evaporation - plus reduce scalping damage caused by too-short cuts!

As a natural response, grass plants will remain dormant during drought periods. But with proper watering practices, your lawn could return to its vibrant green appearance when the drought subsides.

4. Don’t Over-Irrigate

Local regulations may restrict your outdoor water consumption during a drought. Even if you can access stored rainwater, smart irrigation practices are the only surefire way to protect your lawn and ensure its survival.

Deep and frequent watering is best for grass as it strengthens its roots and can better withstand dry weather conditions, while light watering practices foster shallow roots that dry out quickly.

When your lawn turns brown and goes dormant, don't panic; this is an essential process during periods of drought. Dormancy allows plants to store crown and root development energy rather than diverting energy towards new top-growth activities.

Implement lawn care practices that support healthy soil, such as topdressing, aerating, dethatching, and composting. These measures can reduce water demands while keeping nutrient levels high in your soil - helping your lawn better cope with drought conditions.

5. Don’t Apply Fertilizer

Chemical fertilizers tend to boost lawn growth, meaning more water needs for watering purposes. Organic lawn fertilizers provide more essential nutrients without placing additional stress on the grass.

Rather, focus on aeration and dethatching to help retain more moisture for maximum soil hydration.

If you use fertilizer, choose one with low nitrogen formulas and salt concentration.

This will prevent your soil from becoming too salty, which could impact plants and microorganisms. Mulch can help conserve moisture; consider laying down an inch or two of shredded bark or leaves at a three-to-four-inch depth around smaller flowering plants and shrubs to smother weeds while conserving soil moisture.

6. Don’t Apply Pesticides

Use fertilizers and herbicides sparingly for a healthier lawn that can withstand drought conditions. Continuous applications of chemicals stress lawns, promote weeds, and deplete the soil of valuable microbes and organic matter that provide structure and water retention benefits.

Chemicals applied dry can remain on your lawn and be dispersed through the wind to sensitive areas during droughts or be washed away when heavy rainfall comes, potentially threatening wildlife, pets, people, and soil organisms. If pesticides must be used during a drought, precisely read their labels and follow all instructions.

Do not discard grass clippings as they will eventually biodegrade and pollute nearby waters, leading to oxygen depletion and harming aquatic species such as fish. Instead, compost your clippings rather than throwing them out at the curb for disposal; keeping them on your lawn helps build a strong thatch layer that can withstand drought conditions.

7. Don’t Apply Lawn Fertilizer

Under drought conditions, it is wise to refrain from fertilizing your lawn as this allows it to focus on developing deep roots and absorbing moisture from its surroundings.

If watering must occur, ensure it's deep but sparse so as not to burn the grass. Also, ensure to sweep up any fertilizers that fall onto hard surfaces (driveways or sidewalks) as rains could wash them into water features causing algal blooms in them.

If possible, opt for a grass type that better complements the climate and soil in your area. Hardy fescue lawns, in particular, can withstand dry conditions better and recover faster when heat and drought ends.

In addition, water audits should be undertaken as proper irrigation practices will improve drought stress resilience and decrease pollution - so conserving water benefits everyone involved!

8. Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating your lawn is a vital practice for maintaining healthy and lush turf, especially during drought conditions. Lawn aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the ground. This process helps to alleviate soil compaction, a common issue in many lawns, which restricts the flow of these essential elements to the grassroots.

By aerating your lawn, you not only enhance the overall health of your grass but also improve its resistance to drought stress. Furthermore, the increased oxygen circulation in the soil promotes beneficial microbial activity, contributing to a more resilient and vibrant lawn.

Consider aerating your lawn at least once a year, and even more frequently if your soil is heavily compacted, to ensure that your grass can thrive even in the face of dry spells.

9. Use drought-tolerant Grass Species

One of the best ways to save your lawn during a drought is to choose naturally drought-tolerant grass species. These grasses have deep root systems that can access water deep in the soil, making them more resilient during dry spells.

Some popular drought-tolerant grass species include Bermuda grass, buffalo grass, and zoysia grass. Consider replacing your current grass with one of these species to help your lawn survive future droughts.

10. Sharpen Your Mower Blades

Sharpening your mower blades is a fundamental task that can have a significant impact on the health and appearance of your lawn, especially during a drought. When mower blades are dull, they tend to tear grass blades rather than cleanly cutting them.

This can leave your lawn more vulnerable to drought stress and disease. Sharp blades, on the other hand, create clean cuts that promote healthier grass growth. When your grass is in top condition, it's better equipped to withstand periods of water scarcity. So, regularly sharpen your mower blades to ensure that your lawn remains strong and resilient, even during dry spells. It's a simple maintenance task that can make a big difference in the long-term health of your turf.


Finally, implementing these ten suggestions can help you rescue your grass during a drought. You can maintain the health of your lawn and help create a more sustainable future by being proactive, saving water, and implementing sustainable practices.

To have a greater influence as a group, spread these suggestions to others. Act now to safeguard our lawns and encourage environmental care. Each drop matters!

Recent Featured Articles:

5 Easy Ways to Create a Beautiful Lawn

5 Easy Ways to Tune Up Your Gas Lawn Mower

Table of Contents
  1. "Sustainable Lawn Care: Eco-Friendly Tips to Preserve Your Lawn in a Drought"
    1. Water-Saving Tips and Strategies for a Lush Lawn
  2. 6. Don’t Apply Pesticides
    1. Conclusion:
    2. Recent Featured Articles:

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.