2021 Drought Lawn Care Update!
Top 3 Tips for Maintaining Lawns in drought conditions.
As we all know by now, the water situation in Utah is not great which is why we've updated one of our most popular blogs with this 2021 Drought Lawn Care edition. Most cities have asked their residents to reduce water usage as much as possible, starting with lawn. The Utah Division of Water Resources' motto for lawn maintenance this year is "Survive Not Thrive" which essentially means that the goal is to keep the lawn alive, but without the expectation of a lush, green lawn in the heat of the summer.
For those of us that love our lawns it is definitely a tricky situation, but there are some helpful strategies that you can put in place to keep you lawn in the best shape possible while reducing water use to the recommended guidelines.
ONE. Be Water Wise
You've probably heard it before but we're going to tell you again. The best way to water your lawn is deeply and infrequently. Utah is already a dry climate, compounded by the drought this season, we want to encourage your grass roots to grow deep. The deeper the roots are, the better they are at finding and retaining moisture.
The watering guide from the Conservation Garden Park has been updated for 2021. We highly recommend checking out their website for loads of great resources and information. On this handy guide, they give specific details on how longto water and how often for different soil types. Following their recommended guidelines will give your lawn (and trees/shrubs/perennials) the best support with the least amount of water usage.
Be sure to water at the right time of day. Watering during the hottest part of the day means you will lose a good portion of the water (about 70%) to evaporation. In order to make sure that the majority of water you are using gets into the ground, where it is needed - schedule your watering for before 8 AM or after 8 PM.
(Quick Tip: Not sure how to gauge an 1" of water from your sprinklers? It is easy to measure! Take old soup cans or several of the same shape glasses and place them around your yard. Turn your sprinklers on for 10 minutes and then measure how much is in each container. You may find that certain areas of your lawn get more water than others. You can adjust your sprinklers to even out the watering.)
TWO. Cut High
Did you know that cutting your grass too low or by too much can damage it? It's true! Short lawns can look great but you lose the natural protective barrier that a little extra height can give a lawn. For our 2021 Drought Lawn Care Update, the recommendation is to keep your grass cut between 3" to 4". This longer length allows for the roots to be protected and encourages the roots to grow deeper. These factors also help reduce water loss through evaporation.
Another bonus to keeping your grass a little longer is that you can help prevent weeds from growing. Weeds need sunlight to grow. The natural canopy of longer grass prevents sunlight from hitting the ground and can deter weeds from growing. This is not a full-proof plan. If you are having issues with weeds in your lawn you'll want to apply another layer of pre-emergent during the early summer.
So we've mentioned how tall your grass should be but we haven't told you how often to cut your grass in Utah. This is based on how quickly your grass is growing. Once the grass has matured (about 10 days after planting) it will normally grow about 2/3 cm per week (An inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters if you need help with the conversion like we did). You want to only cut about 1/3 of your grass length. Cutting more of the grass could shock it. Most of the green color of grass is concentrated on its new growth. Mowing your lawn semi-frequently means you will keep the bright fresh green showing.
THREE. Add Moisture Retaining Products.
There are a few moisture retaining products on the market that we recommend to help your lawn (and general garden beds) retain more of the moisture and reduce run-off during watering. These products can be especially helpful in 2021 as you're looking to adjust your lawn care for drought conditions.
Conserves water during times of drought or due to severe heat by wetting the soil deeper which allows your lawn to store more water between irrigations. This product helps to reduce runoff on slopes or due to evaporation. It moves fertilizer deeper into the roots while providing supplemental iron. It assists in breaking up and loosening compacted soil by promoting root activity. Lastly, Revive helps to eliminate dry brown spots and helps turn lawns back to green.
2 - Ground Breaker Soil Penetrant
Fast acting soil penetrant that softens hard soil, increases drainage & eliminates runoff overnight. Targets and treats hard & compacted soil and is especially good at treating areas where puddles form, runoff occurs and heavy compaction exists in all soil including heavy clay, silt, sand and caliche.
3 - TurfMAX:
Restores the natural balance to your soil with macro and micro nutrients, pH correctors, beneficial microbes and green grass stimulators – for lawns that look lush, green and healthy. This full spectrum formula is easy to use, gentle enough for kids and pets to play after use and provides the optimal balance for all grasses to thrive. Makes lawns easier to maintain and increases health and density of thick green grass. Helps to soften hard soil and increase strong, deep roots. Apply on top – see results fast.
4 - Hydretain:
A single Hydretain treatment can increase watering efficiency by managing root zone moisture throughout the day. In independent tests Hydretain has reduced watering by up to 50%. It manages soil moisture, extending watering intervals for ornamental plants, turfgrasses, trees, shrubs, and agriculture by as much as 2 to 3 times.
We are here Monday - Saturday from 8am to 6pm and will be happy to help with any additional questions you may have.
Other useful links and resources:
Top 5 Drought Tolerant & Resistant Plants
Do you carry a good kind of mulch that is best for "Topdressing" my lawn, that will help make my lawn look better and healthier?
Hi Jack - yes, there are a few kinds of mulch that would work for this purpose. We carry peat moss, soil pep as well as some blends that would also be effective.
[…] is super important during the hottest time of year for retaining water in your summer garden. Mulching can retain up to 80 percent of added moisture in your soil. On top […]
Are grass looks dead and is getting worse. It’s very dry but we are watering 5x a week. What do you recommend to bring my yard back to green?
Hi Kevin, that is a lot of water so I don't think it is related. I would recommend sending a couple of photos over to our diagnostics team and they can help you figure out what might be causing this problem. You can submit the form via our website under the "contact us" tab above.