Did you have a scorching summer, without much of the relief that rain brings? When drought conditions hit, stay cool. Those brown, patchy spots could be totally temporary. Next year, keep your concerns focused on your sunscreen supply and your air-conditioning system, because with a few tips, you can probably recover your lawn in the fall.
We’ll cover why droughts occur in the summer, whether or not it’s possible to recover your lawn from a drought, how to fertilize your lawn in the fall after a summer drought and bring it back to life, and some ways to mitigate drought conditions if they happen frequently in your area. So read on, and no worries—there will be nothing dry about this!
Why Do Droughts Occur In the Summer?
If you experience droughts in the summer often, know that you’re not alone. During the summer, temperatures are high, and evaporation rates are increased, which means that the water you add to your soil is less likely to stay there, and your soil is more likely to dry out. This is why plants like your lawn grass typically need more water during the summer to thrive. And if there isn’t much rain in the summer, that reduced supply combines with the increased demand, and creates drought conditions. If this is the case across your larger area, there can also be increased water restrictions, meaning that you’re required to conserve more water and potentially pause lawn irrigation.
Can You Recover Your Lawn After Drought?
Recovering your lawn isn’t always an option. Depending on the severity of the drought, your lawn grass could potentially die. This happens when your grassroots lack access to the water they need in order to survive and become damaged to the point where they can’t absorb water and nutrients properly. Plus, your grass as a whole will be under increased stress, and your soil could become compacted, which blocks the passage of water.
If your lawn grass does die, you’ll need to reseed it after drought conditions pass. If your lawn grass is suffering but still alive, proper fertilization in the fall will bring it back to its healthy, lush, and richly green state. But it’s important to be patient when trying to determine if your grass is still alive—and fertilizing in the fall can be a great way to tell. If your grass comes back after fertilization, it’s alive. If not, it’s time to get reseeding.
How to Fertilize Your Lawn in the Fall After a Summer Drought
Ready to recover your lawn from a summer drought? Patience is key. It might make a few weeks to see the full effects of this process. Here’s how to set your lawn up for lush success.
Choose Your Fertilizer Wisely
When choosing a fertilizer, go organic! That’s because synthetic fertilizers often contain ingredients that are harmful to the microorganisms that live and work in your soil to keep your grass healthy. Keeping these microorganisms in top shape will help your grass come back from this drought more quickly and fully, and keep it strong against drought conditions in the future.
This promotes growth and helps your lawn recover from the stress of the drought - for the long haul. Remember, winter is coming!
You want the fertilizer to be spread evenly across your lawn. But this is tough to get just right, as manufacturer’s instructions differ and usually require some serious ratio measuring. Plus, you’re then supposed to apply a certain amount of solution to each square foot of your lawn. Sounds complicated, right? Thankfully, there’s an easier way. Stay tuned for the solution (pun intended).
Once you apply the fertilizer, water your lawn thoroughly to help it absorbs deep into the soil. You're aiming for the roots here.
More Ways to Recover Your Lawn From Drought
Fertilizing is an essential part of recovering your lawn from drought, but it’s just that: one part. Here are some other steps you won’t want to miss getting your grass green again.
All for Aeration
Remember how drought-conditions can compact your soil, which blocks the passage of water and other nutrients? The fix for this is aeration. Aerating involves creating small holes in the soil, which allows water, air, and even your fertilizer to reach the roots. This is essential to do before fertilizing.
Water, Water, Water
It makes sense that a major part of helping your lawn recover from drought conditions is to give it what it wanted all along: water. During that sweet spot in the fall when the soil is still warm, but the weather is cooling off, water your lawn deeping and consistently. This will help your grass recover from drought stress, as well as encourage deeper and stronger root growth.
Mow a Little More
Mowing your lawn has some of the same characteristics of pruning a plant: by removing damaged or dead parts of the grass, you’re actually encouraging new growth. Mow your lawn regularly and watch it grow fuller, stronger, and brighter.
Are Drought Conditions Common for You? Strengthen Your Lawn
By doing all of the above steps correctly, you’re already making your lawn consistently more drought-resistant. But if drought conditions are common for your area, here are two more tips to get stronger, more drought-resistant lawn grass.
Choose a Drought-Resistant Grass Type
Not all grasses are equal for their resistance to drought, so if you frequently experience these conditions, it’s a good idea to find out whether your grass is considered drought-tolerant or not. If not, it might be worth reseeding your lawn with a type that’s better equipped to handle long periods of dry heat. Who knows? Maybe your new grass really will be greener on the other side.
Overseed If There’s a Need
Here’s a less intensive version of reseeding. If you haven’t heard of over seeding, it’s the process of planting grass seed directly into the lawn without tearing up the grass or the soil. Doing this can help thicken up your grass, which will help it better resist drought conditions in the future. Choose a drought-resistant grass and overseed in the fall—ideally when the soil is still warm, and the weather is cooler.
How to Ensure Stronger Soil and More Resilient Grass
The best way to prevent drought conditions? Water perfectly, keep your soil rich with nutrients, and cultivate strong grass. But if that feels like a tall task, we have just the smart solution: the OtO device, an automatic lawn treatment system that analyzes weather, wind speed, and temperature data to adjust how much, how often, and when to water your lawn. It also fertilizes your lawn using Lawn Food+, an all-natural, all-purpose, nitrogen-rich fertilizer that’s fortified with the power of molasses. It promotes rich, healthy soil and thick, resilient plant growth. And it does it for you, with no harsh chemicals. Plus, it administers fertilizer solution in small, regular doses, which both increases its effectiveness and minimizes runoff.
Now you know how to recover your lawn from summer drought conditions. Congratulations. With some preventive measures in place next year, your grass will be even better equipped to take the heat.