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How Should I Mow During a Drought?

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Drought, heat waves, and water restrictions can have a negative effect on your lawn's health and appearance. Unfortunately, it's the wave of the future so we have to try to cope with it. However, here are a few things you can do to help ease the burden that comes with these periods:

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  • Less weeds
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  1. Let your lawn grow a little taller then usual (see: How High Should I Cut my grass?). This should help your lawn create deeper roots and provide the necessary soil shading.
  2. Try Mulching your lawn clippings when you mow (see: Do I Bag or Mulch the Clippings?).
  3. Water early in the morning for the most efficient water use. (see: Watering). If you live under water restrictions, they typically restrict your water use in the afternoons and sometimes all day. In either case, early morning watering may be your best use of water. However, if you cannot water during the early mornings, than you may want to look into installing a sprinkler system in your yard. If so, you can find some help by clicking on: Lawn Companies & Services in your Area. Many of these companies will give you a FREE Lawn Analysis, (see: FREE Lawn Analysis Form) so it can't hurt to explore your options.
  4. Plant a drought-tolerant grass. You may have the wrong grass for your needs and there may be another better suited for you and your region. To find the right grass, click on: Getting to Know Your Lawn to find the right grass for your region.
  5. Fertilize your lawn LESS. The less nitrogen your lawn gets, the less it will want to grow. Subsequently, it will require less water.
  6. Let the grass go dormant. Let's face it, some of us simply don't have time to fight this battle, nor can we sped the $ necessary to do so. Once climate conditions return back to normal and rainfall increases, most grasses will come back. The only problem is the "Yard God" next door might rub it in your face, so be prepared!

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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