Dealing with drought
Dealing with drought is one of the extremes of our region. We are either drowning in too much rain or thirsting for just a drop. Currently, we are in need of rain, so your lawn may be in a bit of distress.
With our recent extreme heat, you may notice your grass turning brown. Don’t get too concerned just yet, as most of our grass species can take three to four weeks of dormancy without dying.
Brown grass isn’t always dead grass
In a time of drought, our grasses take a break and go into dormancy. This just means your grass is stressed. If you don’t believe us, you can tell if your grass is dead or dormant by tugging on plants. If they pull out from the ground easily, they’re probably dead. If the roots hold fast when pulled, the plants are dormant. Brown grass is not the only sign of stressed-out grass, another sign is “footprinting”.
Footprinting is when you step on a parched lawn and your footprints don’t disappear right away. On a parched lawn, these are the areas that suffer first.
How does this happen?
Walking over the same areas of lawn compacts grass and soil. Compacted soil can’t absorb water.
Preventative measures to fight drought
- At the first sign of stress, begin watering!
- Your lawn needs about an inch of water or rain per week to thrive.
- If using a sprinkler, that means about 20 to 30 minutes/three times per week.
- Skip at least a day between waterings.
- Move sprinklers around to cover all areas of your yard.
- Water in the mornings, between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Watering before the sun rises helps to keep evaporation to a minimum.
- Don’t mow the lawn too short or too often during times of drought.
- Stay off the lawn!
A little water and care will go a long way when dealing with drought in lawns.
Before you file this drought recovery plan away, remember all of the time, money, and effort you have put into your lawn and landscape. It is easier and cheaper to water your lawn now than to replace it when it’s too late.
You can always Ask Paul
We work year-round with our customers to protect their investments. Whether preventing and treating disease and invasive pests or nurturing with lawn fertilization and aeration we want your lawn to look the best it can!
At Lawn and Pest Solutions, our licensed lawn technicians can help you achieve your lawn goals and maintain them all year long. We serve the Memphis, Tennessee area as well as all over North Mississippi. You can contact our office any time of day or night.
Lawn Watering 101
Whether you ask, “how much water does my lawn need” or “will my lawn recover from this disease” the answer is always the same. The most important part of having a beautiful lawn is having a healthy lawn. Whatever is your seasonal challenge, a healthy lawn can fight back.
A strong and healthy lawn is much more able to withstand extreme summer weather conditions like excessive rain or drought. Which brings us to and often asked question for #askpaul.
How much water does my lawn need?
If you have a common Southern grass like Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede, your lawn doesn’t really need a lot of water. These grasses have deep root systems that allow them to withstand drought. If your lawn is healthy and established, you can relax a little. Southern grasses like above can survive for weeks without water.
Don’t get too relaxed…
Even your strong and healthy lawn of Southern grass needs some water now and then. When you have let things go for too long, it will go dormant and turn brown.
What does dormant mean?
Dormant doesn’t mean your lawn is dead, it is just resting and saving its’ energy. Once your lawn gets water (whether from rain or your watering) it will recover.
Dormant lawns aren’t very attractive.
It’s true. No one wants to work all year (or invest in the upkeep!) on a lawn that turns brown. If your lawn is going dormant because we are too lazy to turn on the sprinklers, follow these simple guides.
Lawn watering guides:
- If your lawn looks a little gray or dull, water it!
- If you walk across your lawn and your footprints stay sunken, water it!
- Water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. when the weather is cooler. This gives the water time to soak in and evaporate with wind and sun.
- Or…water in the afternoon around 6:00 p.m. allowing the grass to dry before it gets dark.
- Instead of watering once a week and possibly “overwatering,” divide your watering between two times a week.
- As long as your lawn gets 1-1.5 inches of rain/water per week, your lawn will be fine.
You can make it even easier!
There are now “smart” options that allow you to program your watering systems. You can water your lawn from your smart phone and even link it to the local weather system to water at the exactly right time.
Lawn and Pest Solutions can get your Southern grass lawn to a healthy state that can withstand extreme conditions. You can keep it healthy by following our simple watering guide. Give us a call and we will send a licensed lawn technician your way. We serve neighborhoods and businesses from Memphis, Tennessee to all over North Mississippi with our Lawn 360 program.
Winter prep for spring lawn
Remember the childhood candy, Now and Later ? Minus the dental work issues, this candy is a great synonym for winter to spring lawn care. The year round process of lawn care is truly that, year round. Now that winter is here, there is work you can do to prepare your lawn for the winter ahead and ensure a healthy lawn once spring arrives. Here are seven things you can do to prep your lawn for winter:
- Remove debris from your lawn
Get those heavy limbs off of your lawn. Piles of sticks and branches cause compacted lawns, patchiness and dead grass. They also create great hiding places for pests that are waiting to get into your home. Now is a good time to get that fire pit up and running!
2. Rake your lawn
If you haven’t started already, get to work on the fall raking project. If you have started…finish! Rake up the leaves and remove them from your lawn. Anything piled up in your lawn is a hiding place for pests or a great way to kill a healthy (though probably dormant) lawn.
3. Aerate your lawn
If you haven’t already aerated your lawn, winter isn’t an excuse. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can aerate. Breaking through “thatch” is what allows air, water and nutrients to get down into the roots of your lawn. Thatch is the thick layer of living material and debris between the top layer of lawn and the soil beneath. About one inch of thatch is normal and healthy for a lawn, anything more is not. Whether using plugs or spikes to poke down through thatch, this process increases airflow and helps with drainage.
4. Water your lawn
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean your grass isn’t thirsty. Cold air and wind can dehydrate your grass. Give your lawn a deep watering if it needs it, but don’t water if it is below 40 degrees out.
5. Weed your lawn
It is really easy to see fresh green weeds in a brown, dormant lawn. Remember dormant lawns aren’t “dead” they are just “asleep”. Don’t let weeds take over just because your lawn doesn’t look pretty. The rainy and mild winter days usually result in a fresh batch of weeds, so watch out for them! This is also a good time to apply pre-emergent weed killer, our guys are pros at when/where/and how much to apply.
And just to review:
adjective (of a plant or bud) alive but not actively growing.
Similar: asleep, sleeping, slumbering, resting, reposing,
6. Repair your equipment
Things may be busy now, but once you survive Christmas and put all of that away, drag out your mower and get to work. Now you can clean it up, repair it, replace parts and sharpen the blades. Think about your lawn mower blades like the scissors or blades a hairdresser or barber uses. If using a dull mower to cut your grass, the grass blades will be ripped and torn, this opens your lawn up to all sorts of issues in the spring. While you have the mower out…
7. Mow your yard, one last time
As long as the grass is dry, you can mow it one last time if you haven’t already. You want this last cut to be a little shorter than your summer cuts. This helps to keep rodents away, especially voles. It also helps with other issues and will give your spring lawn a better chance.
Remember “now and later”
To wrap it all up, your lawn is a year round job. There is always something to do. Preparing your lawn for winter in the fall turns to preparing your lawn for the spring in the winter. It never ends. A little bit of work and prep year round will result in a healthier lawn come spring. A lawn that has been cared for over the winter is not as much work in the spring, so that’s the good news!
Call us if you have any questions or concerns about aerating or applying a pre emergent for your lawn. At Lawn and Pest Solutions we have licensed lawn technicians who know exactly how to help you. This winter is a great time to set up a consultation. We can schedule a program for you that will simplify your year round lawn care routine. We serve the Memphis, TN to North Mississippi areas and would love to assist you with your lawn and pest needs. Contact our office to set up a visit!