How to care for your lawn in a drought
Australia is no stranger to droughts, and currently in most of rural NSW and the majority of Queensland, farmers are experiencing tough times with rain in scarce supply. At Wild Horse Turf we’ve implemented a watering strategy to ensure the turf varieties we grow for you continue to thrive regardless of what the weather is doing.
But if your grass is currently looking a little worse for the wear, we thought we’d share our top tips on how you can help your lawn survive extended periods of no rain. Of course there’s no magic bullet, and aside from planting drought-hardy varieties from the outset, there are a few things you can do to cushion the blow until Mother Nature works her magic.
1. Adjust mowing height
If your property is experiencing drought-like conditions, chances are the growth of your lawn has slowed considerably. At this time it’s tempting to stop mowing altogether, but we don’t suggest this as a way to improve the quality of your turf.
We advise you to raise the mowing height by 25% or more, and keep in mind that even in idyllic conditions you should never remove more than one-third of the grass blades. Also sharpen your blades because blunt ones tend to rip the grass, leaving jagged edges that dry out quickly and turn brown.
2. Take time to de-thatch
Some varieties thatch up more than others, so to help your lawn absorb what little moisture is still around, spend a little bit of time de-thatching. Keep in mind that thatch isn’t anything to be too concerned about; it’s an accumulation of dead organic lawn matter such as shredded leaves and grass clippings.
Tip: To help deliver moisture directly to your lawn’s root system, we suggest you use an aerator to punch holes in the lawn. To keep costs down why not make one yourself, just Google homemade aerator.
3. Tread carefully for a little while
If possible, and it’s not always the case if you have young children or pets, try to reduce the amount of foot traffic your lawn gets. Same goes with keeping equipment or furniture on your lawn. The weight of it will compact the soil make it harder for your turf to absorb that elusive moisture.
Your decision to keep everyone off the lawn might not be a popular one, but by doing so you will reduce the amount of time it takes your lawn to spring back from a dry spell.
4. Water areas of importance
Not everyone has the inclination or ability to water their lawns during a drought. It can be expensive for those who have to pay for water and a waste for those having to survive on collections in rainwater tanks.
But if you have the means to water, then make sure this takes place early in the morning or late at night so your lawn has time to absorb it. Consider just watering parts of your lawn that are important to you, say the sections that are road fronting or areas you particularly like to keep green.
When you’ve always had a green lawn it might be tough to put up with a dry, dead-looking one, but keep in mind your grass isn’t dead, it’s just dormant. As long as the root structure is deep enough it will come back once rain returns.
If you can, we suggest you try to accept that the unwatered portion of your lawn won’t look luscious in a drought, but that it won’t stay that way forever. It has to rain eventually and then your lawn will be returned to its former glory.
If you’re about to lay turf or have just had a new lawn put in you MUST find a way to keep water up to it in a drought otherwise the roots won’t get established. Watering a new lawn is crucial regardless of what weather conditions you’re currently experiencing. You can get more detailed information on watering you new lawn here.
Get in touch with Wild Horse Turf today to chat about the best grass variety for your climate. We also offer a competitively-priced installation service! Call us on 5496 9790.