ASSESS THE DAMAGE. Grass species can withstand three to four weeks of dormancy and
still survive. Inspect closely. Look at your grass at the crown — that is the base of the plant,
just above the roots, where the individual blades emerge. If the crown is whitish and the new
blades are green, the plant is still living. If everything is brown, then the plant is dead, and no
amount of watering or fertilizer will bring it back. To restore your lawn, you will have to resod
or reseed the area, which is only recommended in the fall.
AERATE. Core aeration allows water, air and nutrients to access the roots of the lawn.
But don’t aerate a lawn if it is dormant or completely brown. Use this method on green lawns,
and follow with regular watering.
FERTILIZE CAREFULLY WHEN ADDITIONAL WATER COMES BACK ONLINE,
which is only recommended in the fall. Just as you want your grass to focus on healthy roots
and water absorption during the drought, the same goes for after periods of water shortage.
Follow directions on fertilizing and avoid too-rapid growth and burning.
Remember, phosphorus-based fertilizers are prohibited.
DON’T OVER-WATER. Too much water can be just as damaging as too little water. Follow a
schedule and water accordingly.
MULCH ESTABLISHED AREAS. Once your grass is healthy, mow and mulch your grass
clippings into the lawn to help retain water and build a strong root system. Continue to mow
high, and stop mowing if you notice the lawn is under stress.
MAKE A RENOVATION PLAN. Come up with a plan for overseeding dead or struggling
patches of lawn. Add compost where necessary, rethink the choice of grass or grass seed mix,
and select one that is drought-resistant. The right choice of grass on your new lawn may help it
withstand water restrictions.
CONSIDER DROUGHT-TOLERANT LANDSCAPING, including drought-tolerant grasses
or xeriscaping/hardscaping to save on water and fertilizer.