How does drought affect lawns?

The British Isles get quite a lot of rain for most of the year; for this reason, most of the public have no need to install lawn irrigation equipment. Unfortunately, when we do get the odd spell of dry weather our lawns begin to suffer and the job of the lawn care technician becomes quite difficult. Whilst GreenBest cannot do anything to bring back the rain, we can help you to understand what is happening in the lawn and advise what products to use.

Effects of drought on lawns

Water is essential to all plants in order to live. When water is scarce plants have a variety of methods to make sure they can stay alive long enough for the water to return.

  • If possible, the roots of the plant will grow deeper to seek out remaining moisture in the soil. Lawns with well-developed root systems often do better in drought conditions, those with shallow roots often get caught out.
  • The stomata, tiny holes on the surface of the leaf that let carbon dioxide in and oxygen out, close to prevent more water from evaporating out of the plant.
  • Photosynthesis, the process that makes energy from sunlight, water and CO2, slows down to conserve water. This means the lawn stops growing and makes it less green.
  • Depending on the grass species the leaf may curl to further prevent water evaporation from the leaf. The lawn may look thinner.

British lawn species cannot survive in drought conditions for long periods of time; eventually, the buildup of harmful compounds in the plant cells cause too much damage and the plant dies. You will be surprised, though, at how long this takes to happen. A lawn may look like it’s beyond saving but that is not always the case.

Drought Safe Summer Lawn Fertiliser 3 month controlled release XCU Organic Supplier

What do lawns need to help them get through drought conditions?

It is worth remembering that nothing prevents drought damage like a good supply of water. Irrigation in the evening or during the night will help top up water levels in the soil that are lost to evaporation during the day. You can help prevent water waste and reduce water run-off by applying  BestWet wetting agent to the lawn. Wetting agents are applied in the run-up to the summer and help to make sure water spreads through the root zone quickly and evenly. Wetting agents give best results when applied before the drought, you can find out more here.

Potassium (K) is often presented as an important nutrient for winter preparation but it plays a very important role in the water management of plants. For this reason, it’s important not to leave potassium out of your summer treatments! Our best selling spring and summer fertilisers (Ultimate and DroughtSafe) are formulated with a balance of N, P and K to keep nutrient levels sufficient.

Summer is the time of year when fertiliser is most likely to scorch a lawn. If you are at all worried about scorch then reducing your fertiliser application rate can help. Alternatively, you can apply a product that is designed to be non-scorch. DroughtSafe is formulated with 100% slow-release and organic nitrogen. This means the fertiliser can be applied in drought and will stay on the lawn, not doing anything, until the rain returns.

Young man mowing the grass

The sales team at GreenBest Ltd have excellent knowledge of what fertiliser products are best to use in the summer. If you have a question about your summer treatments please get in touch. Call us on 01963 364788!


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