Campus News

Keep lawns healthy during drought

Summer is just around the corner, and rainfall deficits for Georgia are expected to continue. Becky Griffin, a turfgrass associate for the Cooperative Extension, has tips to keep lawns healthy while saving water and protecting the environment.

Knowing your grass type will help you manage mowing and fertilization with better results. Grasses have different height recommendations for mowing. Also, healthy turf requires less water.

Consider aerating. Aeration relieves soil compaction, which is a major problem in Georgia’s clay soils. And to survive drought, grass needs healthy, deep roots—the kind that won’t be able to develop in compacted soil. Aerating allows oxygen to enter the soil and give plant roots room to grow. 

Aeration can be done anytime the grass is actively growing and the soil is moist enough for the aerator tines to penetrate as deeply as possible into the grass. Core aerators can be rented from hardware and big-box garden retail stores. 

Many home landscapers only sharpen their mower blades once every few years. This damages the lawn as mowing with a dull blade tears rather than cuts the grass. These wounds leave the grass vulnerable to disease-causing organisms that could require additional water and chemical inputs. If your lawn looks choppy, check your blade. Learning to sharpen your blade is not difficult, and many hardware stores offer blade-sharpening services.