The dog days of summer can be measured by the frequency of visits from the ice cream truck, the prevalence of sprinklers as well as the climbing thermometer readings. Front yard sprinklers are fun for kids and sometimes necessary to keep our lawns green and healthy during summer drought.
We value our water resources and share responsibility for protecting and conserving those water resources whenever possible.
When we water our lawns too much or incorrectly, the excess water flows into storm drains, taking lawn chemicals, leaves and litter with it. This pollution threatens Dublin’s streams, rivers and the wildlife that utilizes the waterways.
Here are some other things to consider for keeping your grass healthy during the summer, while minimizing work, conserving water, and helping protect our streams:
- Dormant grass is not dead. Turfgrasses are cool-season plants designed for dormancy when water is scarce, though they may look ugly and brown. After 4-6 weeks of no rain, even dormant grass needs to be watered. Watering it once deeply (1-1.5 inches) will keep the roots alive without causing the grass to green up.
- Don’t tease your lawn with an occasional sprinkle. Sporadic, irregular watering “confuses” your turf resulting in shallow rooting and stress. Turfgrass needs approximately 1” of water per week. You can measure rainfall and irrigation with a rain gauge or even a tuna can.
- How and when you water matters. Overwatering is more of a problem for homeowners than is under watering (contact Franklin Soil and Water to see if you qualify for a free irrigation sensor). Too much irrigation deprives plant roots of oxygen, and can contribute to water pollution when fertilizer is washed away before grass is able to use it. Grubs will enjoy laying eggs in your damp lawn too! Watering deeply in the morning when water is needed works best.
- Mow high and let it lie! Keeping your grass a little taller at 3-4” in the summer reduces soil temperatures, preserves moisture, prevents weed germination, and helps maintain turfgrass quality. Grass that’s cut too closely is easily stressed, causing it to brown more quickly than longer grass. Dandelions are especially common in lawns that are thin or cut too short. Leaving the grass clippings on the lawn does no harm, recycles nutrients and makes for less work. Keeping those clippings on the lawn and out of storm drains is also good for our creeks.
- Proper lawn care practices help protect our streams. Healthy lawns benefit our streams because they absorb more water during rain storms, need less fertilizer and are less likely to require pesticide and/or herbicide application than unhealthy lawns.
During the summer, a little lawn care goes a long way. See Franklin Soil and Water’s Get Grassy! lawn care campaign at getgrassy.com for additional tips and pledge to keep your lawn healthy for better water quality.