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Tips for dealing with Drought

We’re experiencing a drought that is close to becoming a record setter for this time of year in the Houston area. Here are some of ABC’s tips for keeping your outdoor environment in good shape.

Watering and Irrigation

-If you have an irrigation system, make sure that all zones and sprinkler heads are operating correctly and covering adequately.

-For most lawns, watering a couple times weekly is adequate.  Plant beds may need additional watering, especially if they drain well.

-Over-watering is detrimental, contributing to a number of root damaging diseases and yellow, weak plants.



– St. Augustine needs to be mowed weekly. Higher mowing helps St. Augustine conserve moisture.  Shorter mowing heights shock St. Augustine, forcing it to expend energy and moisture growing new blades, and ultimately weakening and thinning it.

-Bermuda and Zoysia lawns are healthier cut much shorter and more often.

-Make sure your mower blade is sharp, reducing moisture loss.  Dull mower blades fray the ends of the grass blades, allowing rapid moisture loss, disease entry points, and creating a ragged overall appearance.


Hot Spots

-Aerating dry areas and raking turf quality compost into the aeration holes while topdressing the rest of the lawn will provide some relief, in addition to improving the quality of the soil in general.


Fertilizers and Pests

-Don’t withhold feeding your plants; they will need this nutrition to overcome stress due to drought.  Fertilizers applied at the proper rates, especially slow release fertilizers, don’t need immediate watering.

-Monitoring chinch bug feeding on St. Augustine in particular will be important if this drought is prolonged.  Lack of rain limits some natural chinch bug controls, so populations could be high as we approach summer.

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