When water is scarce: Caring for your yard during a drought

When water is scarce: Caring for your yard during a drought

In the hot, dry summer we’ve been experiencing this year, you’ve likely already gathered up the kids, pets and lawn furniture to hide out in the house and wait for fall. Unfortunately, you can’t take your yard with you. Since the lawn has no choice but to lay exposed to the oppressive heat and arid atmosphere, homeowners have to go the extra mile to ensure their front and back yards receive the care and nourishment they need when Mother Nature comes up short. Consider the following tips to get through the dry season.

Approach water restrictions wisely

During a drought, many neighborhoods are subject to restrictions for water consumption and even total water bans during certain hours of the day. Although you will likely receive a notification in the mail if any restrictions are implemented in your area, it’s always a good idea to call your municipality’s water authority for more details. Once you discover the restrictions, you’ll want to use your designated amount of water carefully; consider investing in timed sprinklers and limiting water consumption in the home to allot more for the lawn.

Tools and maintenance

Even during the driest days, weeds will continue to thrive. You probably won’t need to mow your grass if it hasn’t rained in months, but you’ll still need to police your yard for weeds and attack them with a weed eater. When your lawn is desperately in need of water, rake frequently to remove any dead grass, leaves or debris that could rob your grass of moisture.

While your lawnmower is on drought-related hiatus, consider taking it in for a tune-up. Some retailers – Sears, for example – can do that work for you, especially if you’ve purchased a protective plan.

Avoid nitrogen fertilizer

Adding nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn may sound like a good way to give your grass and plants the nutrients they need to survive the drought, but this type of fertilizer can have negative effects during a drought. Nitrogen fertilizer fosters high volumes of leaf growth, while neglecting crucial root growth. This is why most lawn care experts recommend using nitrogen fertilizer only in the fall when top growth decreases and root growth increases. To further prevent damage to your lawn’s roots, avoid all herbicides, as well. Although weeds can be detrimental to your lawn, it’s best to remove them manually or with lawn maintenance tools to prevent compromising the roots of healthy plants.

While it may be difficult to watch your lawn turn crispy and lose its luster, remember that as a responsible homeowner, your first priority is to follow all water restrictions. And a little downtime from intensive yard work can give you the opportunity to have your important tools serviced, to ensure they’re working well when the rain returns.

Jessica enjoys blogging about DIY home-improvement projects, gardening and camping. She blogs for Instructions Optional, and on behalf of prestigious brands like Sears.

1 Comment

  1. one
    Comment by Liz@Dresses by Sherri Hill: Aug 23, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Most important thing is to save water during a drought.You need water for day to day activities. Most Plants will not die if it is a short period. That is my personal experience.

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