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GardenSMART :: Weather Woes - How to Keep Your Lawn Healthy Regardless of the Forecast

Weather Woes – How to Keep Your Lawn Healthy Regardless of the Forecast

By John Deere
Photographs courtesy of John Deere

With summer here, your yard takes center stage. From outdoor barbeques to playing catch with the kids, you want your lawn to look its best.

However, the warmer weather brings new challenges – from mid-afternoon thunderstorms that bring a downpour of rain, to blistering droughts that shrivel up plants.

Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to ensure your lawn stays healthy, regardless of the weather.

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Dealing with Droughts

  • Avoid Watering at Night– It is best to water early in the morning so that your lawn isn’t damp for long periods and the water has time to penetrate the soil without evaporating in the sun.
  • Raise Your Mower Deck – As a rule of thumb, remove only 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow. If you cut too much at one time, the longer clippings can clump, take longer to decompose, and smother the grass below, inhibiting healthy growth.
  • Water Wisely – Many cities place restrictions on watering during a drought. It is important to water conservatively during restrictions and essential that you only do so in accordance with these restrictions. Focus on quality over quantity, getting the water deeper into the soil with less frequent waterings.
  • Don’t Fertilize –If you have a cool season grass, be cautious in applying fertilization during a drought, or avoid doing so at all to allow the turf to go somewhat dormant – thus requiring less water and fertilizer. If you have a warm season grass, appropriately applying fertilizer during the summer will help it withstand typical summers temperatures and potential drought.

Lawn Care During Rainy Seasons

  • Mow More If You Can – During rainy periods, you may need to mow more frequently to keep up with your growing lawn and keep clippings short. When mowing, you may need to raise the mowing height to remove only 1/3 of the new growth.
  • Raking – Remove the wet and heavy clippings from the surface of the grass to allow the turf time to dry. Clumps of wet grass left on your lawn can smother the turf below and lead to disease.
  • Clean Your Mower – Clean off your mower and mower deck after mowing wet grass. Clumps of damp debris left on the deck can dry and cake on, inhibiting airflow under the deck.
  • Maintain Fertilization Schedule –You can typically continue your fertilization schedule during rainy seasons, just be sure to check the instructions on the packaging to ensure the feed will break down properly and not run off into ditches and drainage pipes.

Whether you are wading in water or waiting for rain, these tips will help keep your lawn healthy all summer long. If you have questions about caring about your specific type of grass, or its tolerance for excessive rain or heat, the local university extension service or landscaper are great resources.

For more lawn care information, visit


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