Watering and Drought

Drought resistant grass - how drought resistant is it? 


Richard  - Simple answer ....... pretty good!

It’s not so much that the grass is drought resistant but that it grows very deep roots. Deep roots means the grass taps into water much deeper down and in a typical summer can mean the difference between a green and a brown lawn. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how long it can keep going in dry weather but if you live in a dry county or have freely draining soil and don’t mind a utility type lawn then you won’t be disappointed. See STAYGREEN Lawn Grass Seed


Water retention products


My lawn suffers anytime there is a dry spell. I've seen water retention and treatment products with amazing claims - do they work?

Mr Oldroyd - A good question. The answer is yes and no!

Yes, they do work but perhaps not in the way you want. For all intents and purposes there are three different product groups involved here:

1/ Products that aid water penetration in dry areas and help prevent run off. These are very useful for maintaining water penetration into drought prone soils or for helping to rectify soil problems such as dry patch and fairy rings. Golf courses in particular are heavy users of this group of products of which Lawnsmith® Yucca Wetta* is one.

2/ Lawn water retention products or so called ‘drought proof’ chemicals supposedly help hold water in the soil and prevent evaporation.  I’m not convinced they work, particularly with some of the wild claims I have seen!

3/ Growth regulators. If you regulate and slow growth you need less water. Growth regulators work very well but need more than one application in a season to be completely effective. For lawn care you need a pretty good reason to go this far and to this expense. In the sports turf industry growth regulators save money not only in water for irrigation but also in labour as there is less mowing to be done.

Finally, none is a substitute for water – they just help get maximum benefit from a limited amount of water.

*Lawnsmith Products on this page:

Lawnsmith® Yucca Wetta


Is it ok to apply your wetting agent in February?


My lawn is really hard clay and looking yellow. We had an outbreak of toadstools all over the lawn in august after a new lawn was laid in spring 2010. I scarifyed aerated and top dressed in September but have seen little improvement. No chemicals have been used.

Without seeing your lawn I would suggest that at present, though it hasn't been particularly wet, water is not your problem and though the toadstools may be unsightly they are not causing harm.

It is fine to apply wetting agent in February - it is just normal to do it later to maintain infiltration of rain. On a new lawn, if it has been rotovated or dug over as part of the process then it should not be needed at all.

What is more than likely the issue is a relatively young lawn being established in a very dry spring and summer followed by a harsh winter. Treat the lawn gently this spring, spike if you can, mow no lower than 1 inch and perhaps add a granular fertiliser.

Hope that helps


Whats the best thing to do, my lawn has gone brown in places?



Though we're only in early June this is the driest start to any year on record. I suggest you read this FAQ to eliminate other possibilities but the chances are your brown grass is due to drought.

If the brown grass is in patches then you more than likely have a soil disease called 'dry patch' which becomes evident in dry weather. If the browning is over the majority of the lawn, particularly in sunny areas and around the edges then lack of water is the issue. You can correct this with good watering practices or leave it and it will recover naturally once conditions improve. For more information about managing dry brown lawns and drought conditions I suggest you sign-up for the Lawn Diary and Lawn Alerts in the MyLawnsmith members area.

Finally, if your lawn is suffering comparatively more than neighbouring lawns then consider improving:

  • Mowing regime
  • Fertilising in spring and autumn
  • Aeration and scarifying
  • Over seeding with drought tolerant grass seed

The following Lawnsmith lawn care products are suitable for drought prone soils and can be found in the Lawnsmith Shop:

All the best


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