With all this dry weather around Australia we have seen some of the harshest watering restrictions enforced in decades. As a whole, most Australians have done the right thing and dialled back their water usage, with the lawn being the first area to be on the chopping block.
As a result, the great Australian pastime of spending time in your backyard has been significantly reduced. Lawns are sick nationwide, but are they so sick we should just give up and returf or reseed in Autumn?
At Munns, we are lawn lovers and believe you should never give up on your lawn but you also need to care for it in a way that is environmentally responsible. During periods of drought, warm season grasses like kikuyu, couch, zoysia and Queensland blue couch all can undertake a drought induced dormant state. This means they may yellow off and appear dead but they are really in full survival mode.
Once it goes into this mode please don’t neglect it. Simply letting your lawn go at this stage will result in a dead lawn. Look at ways to collect shower and washing machine water, this may save you the dreaded and costly task of relaying or reseeding your lawn. Even just a few loads of shower or washing machine water can make the difference. Read our article on using greywater to make sure you have all the information you need to know for making the most of water from the house.
Australia is made up of a huge range of turf types and what type of turf you have will play a major role in the ability of your turf to “bounce back” from drought. Warm season grasses like kikuyu, couch, zoysia, buffalo and Queensland blue couch are the best at coming back. Sadly, the cool season grasses like fescue & ryegrass don’t have the depth of underground plant structure to survive for prolonged periods of drought.
So how to tell if it lives. Wait for rain and see if you get any bounce back, this is a certain sign of life! If you don’t see any rain, then applying water to a small area for a couple of days will also recreate this effect.
What to do:
- Do not give up on your lawn
- Collect as much water as you can
- Keep off your lawn
- Adhere to water restrictions (check here for water restrictions that might apply to you)
- Invest in future proofing solutions like water tanks.
- Improve your soil. Soils with higher percentages of clay or loam retain water and nutrients for much longer than sandy soils. If you are constantly watering or fertilisers aren’t lasting, consider applying a soil conditioner such as Munns Weta-Lawn and Garden to increase this level.
- Use a wetting agent prior to rain to ensure water penetration