Repairing Drought Stricken Lawns

bad lawn

Many homeowners with drought-damaged lawns have some decisions to make about how to repair them now that it’s the season, and it mostly comes down to answering this question: Do I reseed, or will fertilizing be enough to recover my lawn?

First, the problem:

Most grass species in upstate New York are cool-season grasses,  They like cooler weather with adequate water.

That’s not what lawns got this summer, when rain was scarce and temperatures were often in the 90s. Many lawns sustained damage or died from the heat and dry conditions.

Here is some advice on how to handle that drought damaged lawn:

* Seed or fertilize? It depends on the size of the damaged area. If an area between clumps of surviving grass is larger than your hand print, then it probably needs to be reseeded.

Damaged areas that are smaller could be treated with fertilizer to encourage growth and recovery. When buying fertilizer, look on the label for a high percentage of nitrogen content. That’s the nutrient that helps plants grow the most.

*Seeding: Types of seed to buy will depend on whether the area is sunny, shady or a mix of both.

Fine fescues, such as creeping fescue, are good for shady areas. Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue are ideal for lawns with full sun. Tall fescue has gained popularity over the last few years in that it keeps its green color longer during drought  A mix of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass works well in areas of high traffic..

Avoid  buying products stating that the seed establishes itself quickly. Such seeds typically have a lot of annual ryegrass, which is not cold-hardy or tolerant of heat and drought.It is not a long-term species for your lawn, Just be real careful when you’re buying seed to make sure you get the right turf species.

Here at the Nursery we carry a line of grass seed which is manufactured by Prefered Seed in Buffalo NY. It contains NO annual grass seed.  We have Summer Green, which is for drought and wear areas, Ie: over septics and high traffic areas. We also have a Trio Supreme mix for sunny areas and a Shady Supreme for your shadier areas.

* Site preparation for seeding: Remove debris and patches of dead grass with a garden rake to ensure that the new seed contacts the soil. If you can get the seed down to that area, it will have a much better chance of getting established.

In addition, aeration is a good way to prepare lawns for seeding, and you also get the added benefits of reducing soil compaction and improving rooting and water infiltration.

* Starter fertilizers: Such fertilizers are high in phosphorus – good for new lawns established from seed. It helps a newly seeded lawn to develop its root system and grow strong.

If we haven’t answered all your questions and you need a little more help, feel free to give us a call or stop in and we will be happy to help you get that lawn back in shape !!!