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Should I water my lawn during dry periods?

  • Botanical Garden
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A lawn that lacks water goes dormant – that is, it stops growing. The leaves and stems die and turn brown, but the growth organs – located at the plants’ crown – are still alive. The grass gradually turns green again as the rain returns.

Generally speaking, a lawn that is well established and well maintained can survive up to six weeks without water. It will, however, be more vulnerable to trampling, weeds and insect pests. Avoid walking on the lawn unnecessarily and do not mow the grass when it is dormant.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your lawn in good condition without consuming too much water:

  • During periods of drought, water your lawn once a week.
  • When irrigating your lawn, ensure that the water soaks deep into the ground. The lawn should receive enough water to moisten the soil 10 to 15 cm deep. This approach encourages the development of long roots that will help the plants survive the next drought.
  • It is preferable to water slowly using a fine, light spray, especially on clay soil or steep slopes, which cannot absorb too much water at one time. If you notice runoff, stop watering for a while and start again later.
  • Avoid watering in the middle of the day during hot weather – up to 75% will evaporate before it soaks into the ground. Whenever possible, water your lawn in the morning or, failing that, in the early evening. In this case, the blades of grass should have time to dry before nightfall to reduce the risk of fungal disease. Of course, respect your city’s watering restrictions.
  • Let your lawn grow 8 to 10 cm high in the summer. The soil will be cooler and will dry out less quickly.
  • Give your grass appropriate care. A dense, vigorous lawn will tolerate hot, dry conditions more easily.

To learn more, consult the Green Pages guide to organic lawn care.

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