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Caring for A Dormant Lawn


About three-fourths of Iowa is gripped in either moderate or severe drought conditions, according to a national report released this week. The conditions make many homeowners look with despair at their browning lawns.  However, a horticulture profressor at Iowa State University says it is time to quit worrying about having the best lawn on the block.  Adam Thoms, says your if your lawn is already turning brown, just let it go.

“You know as they are brown up top, the growth point or the crown of the plant is still green, it could still grow."  

Thoms says one of the worst things that people can do is water their lawns right now, green it up, and then stop.

"That constant kind of bringing it in and out of summer dormancy creates a situation where it burns up the food reserves of the food grass plant.”

Thoms says watering the grass at this point puts a lot of stress on the plant. 

“It actually causes more harm than good.  These cool season grasses they can go 30-to-60 days easily without water, in that dormant state. So its ok to be brown for a prolonged period.”

Thoms says dormant periods won't hurt the grass, and the lawn will come back in the fall.  He says if you have an irrigation system, use it to soak the lawn. 

“If you are irrigating or whatever, we’d want you to kind of soak the yard, and make sure it is longer periods in between. What that does is it forces the roots down deeper to chase that water.  So that when you get into periods of dry conditions, its got a better root system and it stays greener, longer for you.”

Toams says next week looks like it is going to be a little cooler, so  if you are soaking your lawn, you won’t have to use as much water. 

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