Watering Wisely: The Solution to Summer Drought Stress

Mother Nature can be both a friend and a foe, and when it comes to drought, there’s nothing friendly about her! During hot and dry spells this summer, our lawns and landscape plants can really use our help to get by.

What Are the Signs of Drought Stress?

Different plants show different symptoms. Grass can turn blueish-green or brown in color, with footprints remaining in the turf after you’ve walked on it. Trees and shrubs usually have wilting, yellowing leaves when suffering from drought.

What You Should Do

Ideally, you’ll provide your lawn with 1″ to 1 1/2″ of water per week in the absence of rainfall. Your trees and shrubs will benefit from a deep weekly soaking as well. However, if watering restrictions are in place, you should follow your county’s guidelines for water conservation, watering your lawn, trees and shrubs whenever you can. You may also want to set priorities as to what gets watered first. Valuable specimen trees or anything that was recently planted (trees, shrubs or grass) should get special attention.

It’s very important to keep your lawn and landscape plants well fertilized. Mulching around trees, shrubs and planting beds is beneficial as well. These practices lead to deeper, denser root systems, making it easier for plants to withstand drought conditions (and related problems like insects and disease).  

With proper watering, fertilizing and mulching, your lawn and landscape will be much better equipped for the hot, dry weather ahead of us!

Here are a few simple tips to help your lawn weather the dry spells this summer.

  • Your lawn needs from 1″ to 1 1/2″ of water per week from rainfall or sprinkling.
  • It’s better to water less often and more deeply than to provide regular, shallow sprinklings. The soil should be soaked to a depth of 6″ each time.
  • Early-morning watering is best, since less moisture will be lost to evaporation from the sun’s heat.
  • Remember that your trees and shrubs also need water. They’ll benefit from a long, deep soaking once per week in hot, dry weather.