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KEEPING YOUR LAWN ALIVE DURING DROUGHT CONDITIONS

Drought conditions can be hard on Texas lawns but they don't have to be fatal. Proper watering techniques can help keep your lawn alive to thrive for another year.

Infrequent but deep waterings can "train" your lawn to be drought tolerate. By watering deeper and less often, your lawn will establish deeper roots. Deep roots tolerate drought better and require less water than shallow roots.

To encourage deep roots, water your lawn until the top 6 inches of soil is wet. You can check this by pushing a garden spade into the soil. The spade should easily push through the wet soil. Once the soil is sufficiently wet, don't water again until it is truly needed, when footprints are left behind for an extended period of time or when the blades of grass begin to roll or fold.

The most common lawn irrigation tip is watering at night. Watering when the sun is down greatly reduces the amount of water that is lost to evaporation. The prime time to water is during the very early morning hours before the sun rises. Additionally, it is important to make sure your sprinkler heads are spraying onto your lawn and not on the street or sidewalk.

Another way to keep your lawn healthy during a drought is to let it grow taller by not mowing as often and when you do have to mow keep the blade at a higher level than normal. Try not to cut more than a third of the leaf blade during each mow. Grass that is cut short needs more water to make it grow. When you do mow, leave the clippings on the lawn. They serve as a natural and free fertilizer, helping your lawn stay green. Since the clippings break down quickly, you don't have to worry about thatch buildup. A buildup of thatch, a layer of decaying vegetation such as leaves and stems, can prevent water from reaching the soil. Because of this, dethatching with your rake can decrease the amount of water needed to properly irrigate your lawn.

During times of extreme drought, it may be necessary to prioritize your plants to determine which ones must be saved, which ones you should try to save and which ones you should save it possible. This will help you decide which areas of your lawn and garden should be watered first. For example, a tree that has grown throughout the years would probably be a high priority while plants such as annuals would be a low priority since they tend to recover successfully.