For Drought Resistant Grass, the Winter Mowing Hiatus Reforms Bad Habits

inflicted by homeowners with serious misunderstandings about what is best (and worst) for their grass.

Now that the mowers are safely nestled in their garage cocoons for a few months, it’s time for a little rehab, a little reforming of bad lawn care habits. There’s not a lot you can do when a June drought hits and water restrictions make the front-page of the newspaper. However, by understanding the nature of grass, you can do a lot to avoid making the situation worse.

Drought resistant grass begins at the beginning.
Depending on your region, there are grasses that are likely to do well, and grasses that don’t have a fighting chance of survival. Choose the right kind, and your grass will use water efficiently. Choose the wrong kind, and your grass will slurp up every drop and beg for more.

Timing is important, too.
When you water your lawn is at least as important as how often you water it. The advice to water early in the day is not just a practical joke perpetrated by coffee companies hoping to increase sales among sleepy waterers. One reason an early morning drink does wonders for your grass is that there’s generally less wind to interfere with absorption. Also, even in the hottest climates, the early morning hours are the coolest part of the day. This means less of the water you intend for your grass will evaporate before it soaks into the ground.

Watering in the middle of the night is not recommended either, due to the increased risk of promoting diseases. When water sits and doesn’t dry off the surface it creates a breeding ground for many common turf diseases. In an early morning irrigation cycle the surface begins the drying process as the sun comes up and air movement starts to increase.

Frequency is another issue.
A good long soak now and then beats a quick splash on the run every day. The reason is that roots grow deeper when they can linger over a nice long drink of water. Deep roots mean drought resistant grass. Shallow roots have no chance against the burning sun – and are most commonly caused by shallow, frequent watering.