dry lawn

My Lawn is Dry

Grass in a healthy lawn is very resilient and can survive short periods of drought but after that things can deteriorate rapidly so learn how to drought proof your lawn.

Dry Lawn Warning

Do not apply any chemicals or undertake any treatments to your lawn in dry conditions. The only things could be attempted are:

  • Watering if allowed
  • Using Wetting Agents
  • Pricking the soil surface - this is very shallow aerating or spiking
  • Mowing to keep weeds and weed grasses from seeding

How Dry is a Dry Lawn?

There are two stages to a dry lawn:

The first is when there is little or no moisture in the soil, the grass is still green but has lost its sparkle and when walked on the grass doesn't spring back up.

The second is where the grass has started to go brown due to lack of moisture. A severe case as in the image above. This is also referred to as the dormant state.

Are you sure it’s Dry and not Something Else?

There are other possibilities so you may have more than one thing going on!

Have you recently applied weed killer, moss killer or fertiliser to the lawn? Application of these and other products can cause lawn burn. A dry lawn or burned lawn can look very similar. Check out our Lawn Burn page to be sure

It could also be Disease!

During periods of high temperature and usually coinciding with rain or incorrect watering Red Thread can go wild eating your grass leaves. The leaves shrivel and die looking just like a burned or dry lawn. Read about Red Thread

How to be sure it’s Dry

Get a bulb planter and cut out a 3” deep whole in the lawn. Is the soil dry, dusty/crumbly or dark with many grains of soil sticking together or to your fingers signifying moisture? You can do the same thing with the corner of a spade; stab it in the lawn at a 45-degree angle to a depth of 3-4”. Now make two more incisions so that they form a triangle. If you’ve got the angle right you’ve now got an upside down 3-sided pyramid which you can gentle lift out and inspect the soil.

Will it Recover if I don’t do Anything?

As long as the dry spell is not too prolonged the lawn will recover of its own accord when the rains start. An extended dry spell as in the that lovely hot spring that kicked off the Covid pandemic killed many lawns particularly the old and unhealthy ones. You’ll then need to take action so read Repairing Burnt Summer Lawns

If you want to bring the lawn back to life yourself by watering it then please follow the instructions on the next page.

What Treatments can I do to the Lawn?

The over riding rule for pretty much all growing season treatments is "only if the grass is actively growing". Winter treatments are slightly different and the grass may not be growing due to temperature but none the less it is healthy allowing fertiliser and moss treatments without issue.

So what do we mean by actively growing? The lawn should be growing due to some warmth and some moisture in the soil. It may not be at its best because you need to scarify or feed but none the less there is consistent normal growth . In addition the conditions shouldn't be extreme such as water logging, drought or high heat. If there has been extreme conditions you need to let or preferably help the lawn recover before resuming treatments.

See How to Revive a Hard Dry Lawn

Is a Drought Tolerant Lawn Better for You?

If a dry summer lawn is a regular occurrence in your part of the world, consider switching the grass to a more drought tolerant variety such as Lawnsmith Staygreen