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How to care for your lawn in a drought

Although not very common in the UK, we can experience the odd drought! As they are such a rarity, our lawns are probably far from our minds as we slap on the suncream and make the most of the wonderful weather.

How to care for your lawn in a drought

But if you want your lawn to look as good as your sun tan, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure your grass stays in top shape!

Water intermittently

When the hot and dry weather hits, we may think that giving our lawns extra water is the best way to take care of it. This does help if we have a week of a heatwave, but if we have prolonged periods of extremely hot and dry weather, your lawn will be experiencing drought conditions, and this will change how you water it.

During a drought, you should aim to water your lawn between 10 and 14 days apart, ensuring that all areas receive 1 inch of water. This helps your lawn develop a ‘thirst’ for the water and builds resilience to these conditions. Once rain returns, your lawn will bounce back even faster! To water your lawn you can use a hose or an oscillating sprinkler.

Don’t use lawn feed

During a drought, our lawns will often begin to go yellow and may not look their best. For this reason, you may be tempted to feed your lawn to get a bit of colour back into it. However, a drought is the worst time to feed your lawn, and you should avoid doing this until rain returns.

Most lawn food products come in granular form and must be watered in to begin working on your lawn. This dissolving process may take some time, and during this, your lawn food could burn your grass!

Although it may be frustrating not to have your lawn looking its best while the sun is shining, it’ll be better for your lawn's overall condition in the long run. Of course, when the rain inevitably returns, you can feed your lawn, and a quick 6 week feed will get it back on track again!

Don’t mow your lawn

So, you can’t water the lawn and can’t feed it, surely a quick tidy up will make it look better right? Wrong! When a drought hits, your lawn is already stressed by the conditions it has been put under – and let's face it, just like us, it isn’t used to temperatures of 20 degrees plus!

Letting your grass grow a little longer during extremely hot weather actually helps it, as this creates shadows in your lawn, allowing your grass blades to maintain moisture for longer. When our UK weather returns to normal, you can get back to mowing your lawn at the right height for its level of use – to read more on this, follow our guide on mowing your lawn.

And definitely don't sow grass seed!

Unfortunately, drought conditions are one of the worst times to try to grow new seedlings, so it is important to check a two-week forecast before planning to sow a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn!

Although temperatures above 10 degrees are ideal for growth, new seedlings need daily watering and temperatures of 20 degrees and above will create an extremely dry environment for your seedlings to grow in - no matter how much you water them. Parched seedlings don't make for a great lawn, so hold off on sowing until normal weather conditions return.

In short, when a drought arrives, the best course of action to take with your lawn is to leave it be, which is great news for all that sunbathing and BBQs you have planned! And when the drought passes and the UK rainfall returns, you can continue feeding, mowing, and sowing as normal!

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