GreenGrass Blog

Tulsa Lawn Care & Drought - Keep it Green or Let it Go Brown?

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 03:48 PM

Is anyone else tired of hearing the same weather forecast for weeks on end? "100 degrees plus and a 2% chance of rain on Tuesday the week after next, which could be in the form of a downburst which will knock out your power."  Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much!


Lawn care, at this point, is difficult.  Many lawns have gone dormant, because their owners have given up on watering, or because they don't want a huge water bill ruining their budgets, or their city has instituted water rationing.  Other homeowners are trying to water but can't seem to get enough water on their lawns to keep them green.  Some are undecided and don't know whether to keep watering or not.  The picture shows the difference between a watered lawn and an un-watered lawn in this drought.


watered lawn vs. unwatered lawn

If you want to let your lawn go dormant:

  • Bermuda and zoysia lawns ONLY will go dormant in a drought and recover when it rains.  Fescue lawns will simply die without water.  You can reseed fescue late September to early October, but if you let all your existing fescue die, you'll be starting from scratch trying to re-establish it.
  • Try to water a little, like half an inch, at least every other week.  If your lawn gets no water at all, it will have a hard time recovering and might sustain damage.
  • Don't forget the fertilizer on your bermuda & zoysia - the root system of your grass is still active, and fertilizing now will help it recover more quickly when we do get rain.
  • Be sure to water your expensive landscape ornamentals and young trees.  Remember, mulch is your friend.   Even large, established trees may be having a hard time, although damage might not be visible until next year, or even the next.  Trees can be very slow to show drought damage.


NOTE: I had a beautiful, large Dawn Redwood next to my driveway that started dropping leaves last year.  By the time we noticed and started power-watering, it was apparently too late.  It did not leaf out this year.  Dead! 


I found a video from Salisbury Greenhouse about deep root watering for your trees.  Wish I'd had one of those gadgets! I also checked online and and found a deep-root waterer from Lowe's for $19.98, but they were out of them in the stores, and I had to order one.  They don't look as fancy as the one on the video, but I've never used any of them, so can't recommend one over the other.  I'll let you know how it works out when I get it!


If you want to try to keep it green:

  • Instead of a sprinkler, consider turning on the hose and just putting it on the ground.  When that area is saturated, move it to another area.  In this heat, evaporation is quick, and small water droplets sprayed high in the air can disappear before they hit the ground.  A soaker hose would work, also.
  • Spraying your grass with a hand-held nozzle on your hose is a complete waste of time and water, unless you stand there for 30 minutes for each area of your lawn.
  • If you have automatic sprinklers, be sure you're getting full coverage, or you might have some brown spots that are simply not getting watered.
  •  Mow fescue as high as you can, or don't mow at all if it isn't growing.
  • It's okay to keep your bermuda a little higher than usual, but be consistent.  Don't mow it high and then mow it short the next time, or it will definitely look brown.
  • Water as early in the day as you can.  But if  the only time you can water is in the evening, that's definitely better than not watering at all.


And on a completely different note...have anyone ever seen an asparagus fern bloom?  I always plant them in my shade garden as annuals, but this year they all came back, and they are flourishing and flowering!  Adorable little flowers.  I've never seen these ferns flower before - maybe they need to be there for two years?

asparagus fern flowers

Topics: Tulsa drought, not watering your bermuda lawn, watering your lawn, letting your lawn go dormant