Almost every lawn in the United States will experience at least one period of drought within its lifespan. Dry weather can quickly turn your lush green lawn into a barren wasteland. If your grass burns out due to drought, you will most likely notice that the weeds are still green in your lawn. This is because their root systems naturally grow deep into the ground where they can still reach water. By following a few procedures, you can train your grass roots to grow deep also and become drought resistant.
Mow your grass high. Mow at a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches every five to seven days. More foliage above ground encourages thicker and deeper root penetration. Also the ground will stay cooler and retain moisture easier.
Restrict the amount of nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer you apply to your lawn. Although nitrogen promotes lush, green growth, during periods of drought too much top growth can make the grass weak and susceptible to drought stress. Apply no more than 4 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year and do not fertilize before or during periods of hot weather.
Leave the lawn clippings on the lawn after mowing. The clippings will break down into rich organic matter and provide nutrients to your lawn.
Water deeply when you irrigate your lawn. Apply 1 inch of water per week to your entire lawn. This amount of water should moisten your soil down to a depth of 12 inches. Use a screwdriver and probe the soil to check how deep the moisture is penetrating. Adjust the watering length accordingly.
Rent a core lawn aerator from your local rental store. Read the operation manual thoroughly before using it. Run the aerator back and forth across the entire lawn and then repeat the process by running it over the entire lawn perpendicular to the first set of paths. Do this in early fall to ease the compaction of your soil which will increase the quality of your lawn the following season.