Drought Tips for Lawn

Picture courtesy of Delta Bluegrass

Did you know it’s possible to drought proof your lawn?

Although lawn removal is a great idea for showcase lawns (lawns that you only look at but don’t touch), what about for homeowners who have small kids and use the lawn for play areas?

If you have considered installing a new small lawn or have an existing lawn in good shape, why not consider preparing for the drought by training your lawn now?

Simply put: the more you water your lawn, the more you are encouraging shallow roots. The secret to increasing drought tolerance is to cultivate deep root growth. Here’s how:

For new lawns:

  1. Ask your designer to specify a drought tolerant blend like 90/10 Tall or Dwarf Fescue or a California Native sod.
  2. Water as recommend until a good rooting has occurred
  3. Gradually tapper off water, until you reach step 3 below.

For existing lawns:

  1. Aerate your soil. This allows valuable nutrients, oxygen and water to penetrate the soil.
  2. Ask your landscape contractor to update your irrigation system to provide head-to-head coverage, check water pressure and look for leaks. Install a new timer if needed.
  3. Reduce your water schedule to irrigate deeply and less frequent. For example, if your current timer is set to 3 times a week, program it to 2 times a week. If you current schedule is to water for 15 minutes, then stagger the new setting to water three different times for 5 minutes, but wait 1 hour in between watering.
    1. For example: old setting was 15 minutes Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

i.      New Setting: Tuesday and Friday. 5 minutes at 3am, 5 minutes at 4am, 5 minutes at 5am

ii.      Keep this type of schedule for a while until you can reduce to once a week and with less amount of time. Check your local evapotranspiration rate for your area and maintain a 30-50% recommended requirement. See the picture.

4. When rain returns so will your lush green grass!