Drought conditions are still impacting many regional areas at the moment and being environmentally responsible with water use is still very important. Fortunately, it is only in the most severe of conditions, over a considerable amount of time, that your lawn could suffer to the point where it would completely die off due to lack of water.
Warm season turf grass species commonly used in Australia need very little water to survive and are very hardy. They will lose colour, become brown and dry, with little to no leaf growth, but they will generally sit dormant until the next rain or irrigation event. In summer when temperatures are really high, grasses will enter a state of dormancy where they shut down tissue growth to preserve moisture loss.
You can usually tell if a lawn is dormant rather than dead by looking at the crown at the base of the leaves. If the crown is white to off white, it is likely that it is still alive. A dead lawn will be dry, brown and brittle across the entire plant – the leaves, the roots and the crown.
After long periods of dry weather, soils can become dehydrated and this is when the hydrophobic surface is exposed. This surface stops water from penetrating. A wetting agent like Lawn Soaker will help break down this surface tension and help water to soak in.
Mowing – The key to your lawn mowing in summer is to make sure you mow during the cooler time of the day and to mow regularly. You want to keep on top of the leaf growth, so you don’t remove too much at a time. Removing more than a third of the leaf at any one time, will cause stress to the grass roots.
Water is fundamental for grass to transport nutrients, maintain cell structure and for it to create its own food through the process of photosynthesis.
For the most part, this water requirement will be met through rainfall or soil moisture storage.
If the roots cannot maintain this level of moisture to the leaf, the leaves will close their stomata. Stomata are cells that form the pores of the leaf surface. When the stomata are closed, there will be limited growth due to its inability to take in carbon dioxide.
The simple answer is – when your lawn needs it. It is important that you only irrigate your lawn when there is not enough rainfall to meet the needs of your lawn. When you do water, do so within the rules outlined by local water restrictions.
Lawn Solutions R&D programs have a strong focus on bringing lawn to Australian consumers that not only look great but use much less water than older varieties and once established will need little to no water to stay alive.
New turf varieties such as TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda (couch), have been selected and released to the market because of it’s superior drought tolerance.