Some grasses require more water than others, so if you live in Toowoomba, the Darling Downs, or any area that is suffering from drought, you will want to select a drought tolerant variety of grass. Drought tolerance ratings can vary not only between grass types, but also between different varieties of the same grass family. So be sure to check the drought tolerance of the specific grass you want to purchase when selecting a grass type.
If you wish to install or replace your lawn, please keep in mind that any lawn grass type will need significantly more water while it is being established than what an already established lawn would require. So it is best to either plant seed or lay down turf during the wettest part of the year. As the lawn becomes more established then watering can be slowly backed off to encourage deeper root growth. Yard Groomers provides lawn replacement and establishment services.
Whether you have a drought tolerant grass or not, there are a few things you can do to help your lawn be as resilient as possible to dry conditions.
Let’s Get to the Root of the Matter
The roots are the key to a healthy drought tolerant lawn. If you look after root growth, then your lawn will stay greener while your neighbors lawns turn brown. The deeper your roots can grow, the more water they will find in the soil and they’ll be able to withstand drought and the moisture hungry wind.
Grass Height Affects Root Growth
The roots of your grass will grow an average of three times the height of your cut grass. So if your lawn is cut to the common 20-30mm (1 inch) then your roots will only grow to a maximum of 60-90mm (3 inches). This is too shallow for summer heat and drought conditions. In Toowoomba and the surrounding areas, the wind can blow dry the top soil in a matter of minutes after a rainfall, so the roots won’t get enough of the surface water for it to make a difference. If the rain was long enough to penetrate deep into the soil the roots of your grass will have to be able to reach that.
Minimum grass height for optimum drought tolerance is 75-80mm (3 inches). If your grass is shorter than 50mm (2 inches) you can guarantee it will struggle or die during drought, summer, or periods of low rainfall. Be sure to let us know what height you want us to mow your lawn, and we’ll make sure our lawn care professionals give you the lawn you want.
Water Less Often
The more you water, the shallower the roots grow since the grass doesn’t have to work as hard to find the precious water that it needs. However this sets the grass up to die when you have to put it on water restrictions. If you water less often throughout the year the roots are forced to grow deeper into the soil for water.
So how often do we need to water our lawns? Let the grass tell you when it needs water. Grass will wilt or start to lose colour when it needs water. So spend time out on your lawn, enjoying your yard playing with the kids or pets or doing a little gardening, and keep an eye on the general health of your grass. When you see the first signs of thirsty grass, water your lawn.
Make sure that when you do water your lawn that you soak deep into the soil so that your efforts don’t dry out with the first wind that blows. This makes sure that there is water for those deeper roots to find and encourages more growth which means greener grass.
Perfect Drought Tolerant Lawn Recipe
- Get a drought tolerant grass variety
- Mow your lawn no shorter than 50mm ( 2 inches) preferably 75-80mm (3 inches)
- Water only when the grass needs it instead of a regular schedule
- Water long and deep, so it penetrates the full length of the roots and more
- Do the above all year round
- Extra tip: fertilize your lawn 3-4 times a year to give your grass that extra nutrition boost it needs.
Combine all of these ingredients, and you will have the recipe for as lush a lawn as possible in your area.