My Lawn is Dry

My Lawn is Dry

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

How do I Green-up the Lawn?

The obvious answer is with water followed by a seasonal fertiliser to help the grass repair and recover. If the lawn is still green chances are you can go and start watering normally but do read our advice on watering the lawn by following the link at the end of this paragraph.

On the other hand take it gently if the lawn is hard and dry. Hard dry soil is tricky to wet and water will often just run off or pool, so water by sprinkler in any one area for just 15 minutes on day one. If you have some kind of aerator or spiker then on day 2 run over the lawn with it to just prick the surface, don’t force it. Then water again for 15 minutes.

On following days you want to be able to water until you can leave the sprinkler in one spot for an hour without run-off or pooling. Another run with aerator would be very beneficial as well. Within a few days of starting the process the grass will start to green up. You will then need to water weekly to maintain the lawn if there is no rain and don’t forget to feed for optimum recovery. See How to Water the 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