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Beating the Drought

Drought LawnWith temperatures set to hit 35 degrees early next week in the South East, and no long term rain forecast for the next six days at least, we may need to adopt a Keep Calm and Carry On attitude ahead of any looming water restrictions in the garden. 

Turf grasses are tougher than you might think.  There are lots of things you can do to your lawn to keep it looking healthy and beat the drought in the long and short term.

A drought is only 13 days without rain and we have had no rain in July to date and it the 13th today. Add in the fact that April and May were dryer than average months then it is really easy to see how a water defecit has built up.  It does not have to be nice and sunny like in the summer of 1976 for there to be a drought and you would have still needed to water your garden over the past winter period.

The natural evaporation rate is currently 9mm per hour so that means that you have to put down 29mm of water this evening to compensate for just today's water loss.  That's 1.25 inches of water just for today!

Beating the drought lawn tips:

  1. Get rids of your weeds and moss as they take up lots of available water that could be used for your turf grasses instead
  2. Fertilise your lawn now and again every three months - keep it healthy and it will cope with whatever weather is thrown at it
  3. Raise your height of cut to at least setting three or four on a Hayter, so around 4 cm and make sure the mower blade is sharp so as not to stress the turf grasses further
  4. Scarify your lawn to remove the old leaf litter that will aid quicker percolation of any available water down to the root zone
  5. Aerate the lawn to ease compaction and consolidation over the winter allowing fresh air into the soil surface and aiding deeper rooting of the turf grasses and also root pruning to increase number of and surface area of the root system
  6. Forget about watering your lawn at all - you will not compete with the benefit of dew or natural rain and an occasional 5mm of rain will suffice.  The nightly dews add a lot of water to the lawn too and watering will only generate shallow roots.  Grass naturally goes brown but the grass does not die
  7. Keep use of the lawn to a minimum, so less football practice and overall wear
  8. Treat the lawn for worm casts - this will aid the retention of the grass cover
  9. Keep an eye our for insect damage from Leatherjackets and Chafer Beetle Larvae as the grubs will be eating the vital grass roots
  10. Over seed your lawn with grass seed – fill in any bare areas once populated by weeds and moss and weed grasses.  The grass seed will enjoy the micro climate of the existing grasses cut at a higher mower height and will easily germinate and develop even if only relying on natural rainfall
  11. Use Wetting Agents in a Granular, Liquid or Hose Diluter Tablet Form to alleviate areas of naturally occurring Dry Patch in the soil.  Wetting Agents break down any surface tension in the soil and permit even distribution of rainfall through the root zone and less water is then required to assist the health of the turf grasses
  12. Type any of the keywords mentioned above into this lawn advice blog and view more technical articles on the subject matter


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