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The SafeLawns Drought Bulletin: 23 Points to Save Water, Time & Stress (for you and the plants)

This is the appearance of a typical drought-stressed lawn in many parts of North America right now. In all likelihood, however, it will recover when the weather cools and rain returns.

As the news continues to build about the now-epic drought conditions sweeping the nation, my neighbor was outside this afternoon applying more fertilizer to his crisp, brown lawn. That led me to run inside to dust off this reminder; no matter how much I think this stuff has been repeated, I need to remember that people need to hear it again and again and again:


1) Don’t Mow Your Lawn When no Rain is Predicted
2) Set your Mower Blade as High as Possible Until Fall
3) Keep the Mower Blade Sharp to Avoid Tearing the Plants
4) Leave the Clippings on the Lawn, or Collect them to use as Mulch for the garden
5) If the Soil feels Compacted, Aerate it Later This Fall
6) Avoid Chemical Fertilizers, which Rob Moisture from Plants
7) If you Do Water, Always Water in the Morning and Never in the Evening
8) Avoid Daily Watering and Rather Water Deeply Once a Week
9) Top Dress or Mulch Gardens with Compost
10) Consider Applying “Wetting” Agents or other Soil Softeners to Soil to Maximize Watering Efficiency
11) Avoid Bare Spots in the Garden, apply Mulch or grow a Cover Crop instead
12) Move Containers to Shadier Areas during really Hot Days
13) Keep the Garden Free from Weeds, which Compete for Moisture
14) Pick Drought Tolerant Plants and Grass Whenever Possible
15) Group Plants together according to Water and Sunlight Needs
16) DON’T FERTILIZE. PERIOD. If you live in the northern tier of the country, wait until September at this point.


1) Grass can go dormant and bounce back in the fall, so prioritize watering your vegetables, trees and shrubs
2) Collect and save water from downspouts, air conditioners, bathtubs, kitchen sinks
3) Drip Irrigation is best in the garden, properly aimed pulsating sprinklers are best on the lawn
4) Check hoses, faucets and couplings for leaks
5) Again, check the aim of your sprinkler system
6) Check with your municipality about any water restrictions
7) Avoid Planting Anything New During August if You Can’t Be Around the Water Every Day

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Lee

    For lawns in sandy soil, I thought the recommendation was for more frequent/lighter watering (vs 1x/week)

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