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Three Tips to Help Your Lawn Recover After a Drought

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

The summer of 2007 was brutal for many parts of the country, particularly the Southeast, which suffered an historic drought. Many areas were put under mandatory water restrictions, and many lawns suffered extensive damage as a result. If yours was among them, here are three things to remember as you try and recover the lush lawn you once had.

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You're probably used to brown patches of dormant grass in your lawn at winter's end. But if you're coming off a severe drought, these patches are more likely dead than dormant. In such areas, the dead grass will become matted and prevent new seed from making contact with the soil and germinating. Before re-seeding, you need to dethatch these areas. Most home improvement stores carry dethatching rakes that will clear the dead grass out while leaving behind grass that survived the drought. There are also attachments for lawn tractors that do the same thing.


In many parts of the country, annual aeration isn't required for a healthy lawn. But if you're coming off of an extended drought, your soil spent last summer being baked like clay in a kiln. Aerating will break that soil up, which will make it much easier for your lawn to establish the deep root network it will need to survive the next drought.

Let it Grow

A good rule of thumb is that grass grows as much above ground as it does below. Let your lawn's roots get well-established by allowing it to grow to six inches or more before cutting it for the first time. Keep it healthy by setting your lawnmower blades at three inches or higher. The longer grass will not only promote healthy roots, but will also help trap water, meaning less is lost to evaporation.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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