Dormant Grass Recovery
Throughout times of drought, grass may begin to shut down, turn brown and play dead. This is a defense mechanism, and is done to protect itself during harsh conditions (like drought and winter). When rain finally returns, grass will naturally revive itself and with a little help from lawn food will be restored to its beautiful green color. However, often some damage has been done – resulting in bare or thinning patches in the grass. For most lawns, fall is a good time to repair these areas.
How can I best care for recovering grass?
Water Wisely: Take advantage of rainfall when you can to get the needed 1 inch of water a week. When rainfall is sparse, as it is in times of drought, the best rule of thumb is to water ½ inches, 2 days per week, so that the top 6-8 inches of soil remains moist.
Be sure to follow watering restrictions in your local area. For example in Texas go to this website:
Feed and Prevent Weeds: Feed the lawn once rainfall returns as dormant grass will not respond to feeding. Once rain returns or watering is allowed, feed your lawn with Scotts Turf Builder Winterguard to strengthen its root system and replace the nutrients the grass used up in its struggle to survive. Regular feeding will also protect your lawn against heat and drought in the future—a well-fed lawn just does not get as thirsty. Most weeds are more drought-tolerant than grass and will rob your lawn of vital nutrients and water. If weeds are an issue in your lawn, depending upon your grass type use Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard With Plus 2 Weed Control or Scotts Bonus S Weed & Feed to feed your lawn plus kill weeds. For spot weed control use Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max. Note: Do not use weed controls in areas you are seeding or planning to seed this fall.
Seed or Sod and Feed: For lawns with cool-season grasses (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) re-seed your lawn by removing any dead material with light raking and replant with a mix of heat- and drought-tolerant grasses. Apply Scotts Starter Fertilizer to encourage thick, strong grass and root development. For lawns with warm-season grasses (like Bermuda, St. Augustinegrass and Zoysia, you may be able to repair small areas this fall with sod, however major repair jobs may need to wait until spring.
Following these tips will help your lawn pull through stressful drought many areas have experienced this year.