Signs of a Dehydrated Lawn

June 6, 2022

In our part of the country, spring is usually the wettest part of the year.  That may not be saying much, but those months are better for lawns than the dry summers that follow. When your area isn’t getting a lot of rain, it’s a constant temptation to provide more water than the generally recommended one inch per week, but it’s important to remember that excess water can encourage the growth of harmful funguses. At the same time, if grass gets too little water, its roots suffer. How can you tell how much water your lawn needs? Here’s a short list of signs that your lawn isn’t getting all the moisture it needs.

It’s Noticeably Wilting

One of the earliest and most obvious signs of dehydration in grass is wilting, when blades begin to curl over instead of standing up straight. If you don’t take action right away, you will soon see the grass start to change color (which we discuss in more detail below).

It’s Not Resilient

Traffic across your yard will obviously press grass down, but if it’s healthy, you’ll see it return to the way it looked before it was stepped on. If your footprints or tire tracks from your mower remain visible for a while, your grass is drying out.

It’s an Unusual Color

We all recognize the deep green that characterizes a thriving lawn. A thirsty one starts to turn colors that we don’t ordinarily associate with grass – blue, gray, or even purple. These changes can be subtle at first, but they’re a reliable early warning that something is starting to go wrong. A pair of glare-reducing polarized sunglasses can help you detect these small changes before serious damage occurs.

If you notice areas that are light brown or the color of straw, you have one of two problems. Either the lack of moisture has reached a more serious stage, or fungal diseases are taking advantage of the weakened condition of your grass.

The Soil Is Cracking

Cracks and gaps in your soil are a very clear sign of drought. They’ll start to appear in areas that border driveways, curbs, sidewalks, and other features of the landscape added by people. You may also notice the dirt changing color to lighter shades of brown. If your soil contains a relatively high percentage of clay, you’re more likely to face this problem.

An Easy Way to Check the Moisture Level of Soil

If you see some of these symptoms but don’t feel like you have enough information to take action, there’s a simple test you can perform. Press the point of a regular screwdriver into the ground. If it slides in without much effort, your soil has a sufficient level of water. If you have trouble inserting the screwdriver to its hilt, the soil is telling you it needs a drink.

If you’re not sure how much water your lawn needs during the hottest days of summer, the trained professionals at Southern Lawns can help. Give us a call at 334.759.3231 or e-mail to schedule an assessment.