A brown lawn is not exactly what we imagine for a relaxing summer oasis but with this hot, dry summer, it may be all that we can achieve! Common sense gardeners generally consider letting lawns go dormant (turn brown and dry out) in the summer but never has that seemed more important than this summer. With temperatures well over our average and little rainfall for months, a dormant lawn is likely this summer, whether we prefer the brown look, or not.
Worry not! When rains return, the lawn will turn green again – until then, embrace the dormant lawn with careful watering and limited use.
- Avoid mowing if possible – weeds will not stop growing so mow if needed for weed control but hand pulling weeds, especially as they go to seed is better for the lawn. Chemical weed killers can seriously harm dormant or stressed lawns.
- Limit foot and vehicle traffic on the lawn.
- No need to fertilize or add lime to a dormant lawn – wait until fall to add a slow release fertilizer.
- Water one inch of water per month to keep the lawn alive – use a rain gauge to check and record any rain on your calendar so that you are providing one inch, in total, for each drought month.
- It may take 2 weeks for lawns to turn green again after the rains begin this fall.
- Add slow-release fertilizer after lawn has started to green up again.
- Aerate and overseed with a drought tolerant grass seed blend grown in the Pacific Northwest for a healthy lawn that can survive whatever winter and next summer may provide!