7 Top Keys Easily Stop Lawn Drought Damage


Why is lawn drought damage a concern?

Doesn’t it recover?

Didn’t it rain a normal amount this year?

The problem with measuring annual rain fall in inches, is that the health and beauty of your lawn and landscape requires watering in regularity.

How can drought creep up on you and your landscape when you thought it was a rainy summer?

In Birmingham, Alabama, we go from very rainy periods to very dry periods in the blink of an eye.  Around here, when the rain finally stops, it really stops and we go straight into drought.

This is why a well maintained sprinkler system is essential in our area if you love a beautifully well-maintained home. Rain patterns can actually change back and forth within one season and cause undue stress to your landscape.   In 2016, the drought came upon Birmingham very rapidly, stressing many landscape plants and trees and many properties had damage to their landscapes that they are still recovering from.  A quick drive around Birmingham in the Spring revealed many trees and shrubs that had perished in the drought.  We are still seeing evidence of dying trees and shrubs and lawn drought damage a year later from the 2016 drought.  With advanced planning and repairing of many sprinkler systems a lot of these plants and trees could have survived, even with water restrictions.

The landscapes that suffered the most damage were not properly watering their landscapes before the water restrictions and by the time some of them began to run their system, landscapes were already extremely stressed.  Stressed plants are more likely to be damaged by insects and disease than healthy well maintained plants.  Once a plant becomes stressed it can develop a weakened immune system, so to speak and can struggle to recover, even if it survives.

Do you wait until you lose power to call a contractor to have your generator maintenance performed?  Or do you check it periodically to ensure that it actually works, so you have power when you need it the most?

Doing that type of preventive maintenance for your lawn sprinkler system will stop lawn drought damage.

You work hard and deserve to come home to a lusher, more vibrant lawn and landscape.  Right?

Here are some of the best practices to prevent lawn drought damage.

Seven ways to prevent lawn drought damage now and in the future.

1. Cut Grass at a Higher Height and Frequency

To prevent lawn drought stress, cut grass at a higher height and more often.  As a general rule you should only cut 1/3 of the height of the grass in one cutting.  So, if the grass is 3” tall, you could cut it to 2” and you would be ok, following this rule of thumb.  This will keep the grass from becoming stressed immediately after cutting.  And raising the blade of your mower even a ½” can make a big difference to keeping your lawn nice and green, especially going into the Fall season.

2. Mulch plants and trees in the Spring and Fall.

Mulching helps protect roots from heat and cold temperatures as well as conserves water from evaporation.  Pine straw and/or pine bark are both really good options for mulch in Birmingham and they both break down over time and add nutrients to the soil, further protecting your plants from drought stress.

3.  Properly Pruning Reduces Landscape Drought Stress

Even proper pruning promotes a more drought tolerant landscape.

Properly pruning landscape plants and trees goes a long way to preventing problems down the road.  Some problems associated with improper pruning are overgrown plants that require severe pruning or renovation to correct which puts undue stress on the landscape.  When plants are more stressed leading up to the drought, they have a lower chance of surviving a lack of water.

4.  Proper Fertilization

Proper fertilization of your landscape and turf will ensure it is getting the proper nutrients to be healthy and green and provide more blooms for your spring and summer.  A healthy lawn is less vulnerable to lawn drought damage.

5.  Maintaining and Renovating Your Sprinkler System

Maintaining and sometimes renovating your sprinkler system, so that it provides the right amount of water to your turf and landscape is the only way to completely prevent lawn drought damage.  Even properly installed and designed sprinkler systems need heads moved and extended to accommodate your growing and changing landscape.  As plants mature, rotor and spray heads need to be adjusted, so that the entire landscape is getting the proper amount of water, as plants can grow in front of heads blocking them from reaching other plants and trees.  Also each year in Birmingham, lightning can do significant damage to sprinkler systems that can go unnoticed until the entire system is assessed.

6.  Install a Rain Sensor on Your Sprinkler System

How can a Rain Sensor, which stops the sprinkler from running, stop lawn drought damage?

Consider this, some people who really don’t like working their sprinkler controller, because let’s face it, they aren’t that easy to use, will turn them off when it’s raining.  That’s fine unless you lose track of how many days it’s been without rain and forget to turn it back on.  What if when you do remember to turn it back on, it won’t turn on, because of a malfunction, which requires a professional to repair?  Even more delays before your precious landscape gets it’s life-saving water to it.  Install a Rain Sensor on your sprinkler system.  On most residential sprinkler systems a rain sensor will save more money than the cost of the sensor in one season or on larger systems it could save more money than the cost of the rain sensor in one month!  Our customers love their rain sensors.

Want to know more?  Rain sensors: How The Work and Do They Save Money

7.  Update your sprinkler controller with a Wifi Controller

Does this ever happen to you?

It’s been rainy, so you just turn off the sprinkler system.  Then you’re on a business trip or vacation and returned to a dried up lawn and miserable looking hydrangeas?  Do this with enough frequency and you will end up with lawn drought damage.

By installing a new Wifi Controller you put the control of your sprinkler system in a device you already have with you.  It just makes sense to control your sprinkler system from the smart phone you use to control everything else in your life.

Update your sprinkler controller with a Wifi Controller that you can control from your computer or smart phone from your office, the beach or anywhere in the world!  It simply connects to your existing Wifi network in your home and is controlled via an App on your smartphone.  The ability to change the programming on your controller as soon as you think about it from anywhere is a game changer for sprinkler controllers.  This alone can save a lot of water and get water to your plants exactly when they need it and the ability to monitor all of it in the App is amazing!

So, schedule an appointment to have your Sprinkler System serviced and updated with new technology that will protect your landscape investment, save water and have your lawn and landscape flourishing year round!

My Rachio Controller Test: 1 year later

I’ve noticed in myself that when I keep my home well maintained, I truly love being home.  If you live in the greater Birmingham, Alabama area and would like help with your sprinkler system, click here to request service.