So, it’s the beginning of October and we are reaching record temperatures already. They tell us it’s not going to rain for the foreseeable future. Water costs a fortune but we all want to have decent lawns that are reasonably green.
The first thing to do is have the right grass; this is a bit like saying if you want to live for a long time choose the correct parents. There are quite a number of grass lawns out there that are drought tolerant from the new better behaved Buffalo lawns through to something like that old favourite Santa Anna Couch. If you don’t want to go through the expense of putting in a a new lawn then really all you can do is read and the following steps that will maximise your lawns life and minimise water consumption. These tips also apply to the good grasses such as the Buffalo and couch lawns.
- Don’t overwater. Lawn survives better in dry conditions that does in wet. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid watering your grass, but it does mean to be vigilant and be careful not to water the grass after it has just rained. Constantly wet soil is bad for the root system and your lawn may become more susceptible to diseases because they thrive in wet conditions.
- Avoid cutting your lawn too short. A common mistake by homeowners is cutting the lawn too short. If the lawn is too short it reduces the energy the plant has in regrowing. When cut at the proper height the grass develops stronger roots and therefore the plant is more tolerant to stress. It is important to acknowledge the grass types that have different growing habits and that directly relates to the height in which you mow it.
- Respect the “one third rule”. When deciding on the correct height in which you will cut your grass, it’s very important to acknowledge the “one third rule” that is never to remove more than one third of the grass height at any one time. By doing so your lawn is kept cooler because less of the plant tissue is removed during the cutting process.
- When in drought don’t mow. When you’re in a drought and you don’t water the lawn it is important not to mow the grass, as the plant is in stress and it will have a much harder time re-growing its self. Instead mow the grass after rainfall or after irrigation or watering.
- Sharp blades. It is important to cut your grass with a sharp mowing blade because the plant will heal faster from a clean cut than with a dull blade. A dull blade will tear the plant tissue and not cut it and this torn tissue will develop a brown appearance as if the surface is bruising and become more susceptible to stress and disease. A sharp blade will prevent this brown appearance and prevent further harm to the plant.
- Preserve grass clippings. The grass that you’ve cut is not necessarily a harm to the lawn in fact it acts as a slow release fertiliser for the plant as it decomposes on top of it. It’s important to aim clippings away from streets storm drains and bodies of water. Some lawnmowers automatically polarise the clippings into a fine dust and it is distributed evenly.