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How to Care for a Drought-Stressed Lawn

31 May 2023

Monnick Supply - Stressed Lawn

While a drought can be an anomaly, some regions are starting to experience them more regularly. If you've experienced significant hot, dry weather in the last summer, make sure you ramp up your lawn care in the coming spring to get a head start. Strong lawns can help withstand and recover from drought stress faster because they have solid root systems and thick top growth. Apply Scotts® Turf Builder® UltraFeed™ early in the spring (following the label directions) to give your grass a boost plus the nutrients it needs for up to 6 months.

Tips to Decrease Lawn Damage from a Drought

Mow high. The higher you mow, the deeper your lawn’s roots will grow. Mow at the highest height recommended for your grass type and never remove more than ⅓ of the total height in a single mowing, as that can further stress your already stressed-out grass. When it’s not looking lush, it’s tempting to cut grass short—out of sight, out of mind, we feel you—but less growth on top means less root growth, and deep roots are key to dealing with a drought.

Sharpen your mower blades. Sharp blades give a clean cut, which means your grass heals faster and there’s less stress. Plus, it looks better than jagged grass ripped by dull blades, so this is always a good idea even when your lawn is at its best. If you don't have the equipment to sharpen those blades yourself (most people don't), any mower repair shop can do it for you.

Water properly. Water your lawn daily in the early morning—this helps prepare your grass for the incoming sun. The amount will depend on whether you are hand watering, using a sprinkler or an irrigation system, so experiment but err on the lower time frame of 10-15 minutes per zone. If you decide not to water your lawn (or your area has implemented drought restrictions), no worries: your grass is designed to stop growing, turn brown, and become dormant as a natural protection method. But, if it hasn't rained for a month or more, you may still want to give your lawn a light watering (think 15 to 20 minutes) once or twice a week. This wets it just enough to help protect it during high stress periods without causing it to green up and grow.

Limit foot traffic. Your yard will thank you if you stay off of it while it’s stressed. You'll also avoid causing even more damage that could be difficult to fix.

Avoid fertilizing as a quick fix. The grass looks puny, so a little fertilizer will perk it up, right? Nope. Fertilizer encourages grass to grow more, which means it’ll use up precious energy for above-ground growth. Wait until things have normalized, and then, following all label directions, treat it to Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food if you have warm-season grass or Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food for cool-season grass. With regular rain and these region-specific formulas, your lawn will be poised to spring back into shape.

Your lawn might not look action-ready for a little bit, but hang in there. Most grass will rebound in due time so long as you give it what it needs.



Marlborough Store

135 Maple Street,
Marlborough, MA
Call (508) 318-4788


Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm

Framingham Store

759 Waverly Street,
Framingham, MA
Call (508) 386-9876


Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm

Monnick Supply $$
135 Maple St.
Marlborough MA 01752
United States
(508) 318-4788
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 7am - 5:30pm
Sun 12pm - 4pm
Monnick Supply $$
759 Waverly St.
Framingham MA 01702
United States
(508) 386-9876
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 8am - 5:30pm
Sun 10am - 4pm