Although you can’t prevent drought, using an “ounce of prevention” will help reduce the possibility of losing your lawn during hot weather. The secret is proper watering. This year has been an especially bad one for hot, dry weather, so here are a few tips that might help prevent the “scorching” of your lawn.
As your grass grows, the root system develops so that it can replace the water lost from the leaf surfaces. If water is available near the soil surface, the plant develops a shallow root system—only 2-3” deep. This means that there is only a small amount of soil to store water within the reach of the roots. Also, the top 3” of soil warms up rapidly each day. So there is a large amount of water lost by evaporation from the warm soil surface. On the other hand, grass roots that are down 6-8” pick up moisture from a large amount of soil, and water loss from evaporation is less.
The key to a happy, healthy lawn is to water it deeply, and then leave it for several days, depending upon the air temperature. By alternately soaking your lawn to a depth of 6-8” several times a week, and then allowing the top layer to dry out, your grass roots will develop deep down, not near the surface. By saturating this layer of soil deeply, you’ll stimulate dense root growth, which will help save your lawn during a drought.
To prevent drought damage to your lawn, overspray it once a week during the hot weather with my Drought Buster Tonic: 1 can of beer, 1 cup of Thatch Buster, 1 cup of Liquid Lawn Food, and 1 cup of Plant Shampoo. Mix all of these ingredients in a bucket, then pour into a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer. Apply this tonic early in the morning to minimize evaporation, and to give the grass plants ample time to digest it. Then, in addition to your normal soaking, water for 10 minutes at noon, and again at 4:00 p.m., for optimum results.
Proper nutrients are also vital for developing a deep-rooted lawn. If they are not present, your grass will have little to grow on. To get the proper nutrients, start a regular shampooing and feeding program with my All-Season “Green-Up” Tonic: 1 can of beer, 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of dish soap, 1/2 cup of Liquid Lawn Food, and 1/2 cup of molasses or corn syrup. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bucket, then pour into a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and apply to your lawn.
If you follow these simple steps, I guarantee you won’t have to “look out for drought” because you’ll have the greenest grass in town!