Gardening

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Keep your lawns healthy

Lawn Secrets from the Mow Master

(ARA) - Whether there’s midseason drought or a family vacation, keep your lawn green and healthy this summer with advice from John Deere’s “Mow Master” Bill Klutho. 

Q: When my town enforced water restrictions during last year’s drought, my lawn suffered. Besides moving to a rainforest, what can I do?
-- Wishing for Water

A: Dehydration can be a common problem, even if there isn’t a drought. Signs such as curling grass blades, a bluish-green color and footprinting (when you can see your footprints in the grass) mean your grass is thirsty. Most lawns need about an inch of water per week, wetting the soil about six inches deep. To measure watering time, put a mark one inch from the bottom of several plastic containers and spread them around the lawn. Clock the time it takes to reach the one-inch mark and water for that length of time in the future. And water in the morning so your lawn isn’t left wet overnight.

When dealing with drought, John Deere recommends following any water restrictions in your area and considering these tips:

* During short droughts, if the grass is still growing, mow on the high side and water infrequently, but deeply, to encourage a strong, deep root system. Watering just a little bit invites weeds to grow.

* Water thoroughly but efficiently, wasting no water on runoff. If the ground is dry and slow to absorb, turn off the water when runoff occurs, wait 30 minutes or more for the surface to dry, then water again. Continue the cycle until you reach saturation levels. 

* During severe drought, let your lawn go dormant. Your lawn can actually survive a few months without water and will recover quickly once rain returns. And if water shortages are common in your area, consider planting another breed of turf that is more drought-hardy than your current lawn.
 

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