Lawn Maintenance During A Drought: Tips for Healthier Lawns

By TruGreen June 8, 2013
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It's a common cry heard from lawn-loving homeowners as they watch their yards turn brown or pale in the summer sun: How can I get my grass green when I'm facing a drought? Of course, because the TruGreen® experts understand the science behind achieving a healthy lawn you'll love, they can tell you exactly what's happening. Turfgrass plants are composed of 70% to 75% water, so when the available water supply dwindles, your lawn will show it.

How Can I Get My Grass Green

The science behind the “How can I get my grass green?” plea

The problem with drought stress begins when grasses begin to lose more water through their leaves than they absorb through their roots. As the available water dries up, your plants become stressed. You’ll begin to see:

  • Changes in hue. Your lawn will change its color from bright green to dull gray or blue-green.
  • Footprints. Footprints (or lawn mower tracks) will stay visible in grasses that are too tired to spring upright after they’ve been pushed down.
  • Wilting. Grass blades will roll or fold as they lose water content, wilting visibly in the heat.
  • Changes in color. As drought stress becomes more severe, your lawn may do more than lose its bright green hue. If you’re asking, “How can I get my grass green?” you may already be noticing shades of yellow or tan. Once you see tan coloration, your lawn is in a state of drought-induced dormancy—a last-ditch attempt to survive the dry heat by shutting down.

How to get green grass

It is possible to return your grass to its state of green health, even if you’re already asking “How can I get my grass green again?” Here’s how to get greener grass when drought poses a threat to your lawn:

  • Minimize damage. Don’t mow drought-stressed grass, and walk on it as little as possible. Your grass isn’t growing when it’s fighting over-dryness, and the cellular structure of the leaf is more likely to collapse without adequate water to support it. Long-term or permanent damage can occur when the leaf structure is damaged during drought. Avoid the temptation to “mow high” and cut off tall weeds that may be outcompeting your turf until the grass has returned to health.
  • Water. If your lawn is wilting or showing discoloration, water now. If your lawn has not begun to go dormant, you should see green coloration with regular watering. If the grasses are already going dormant, yellow or tan coloration will remain. In that case, water lightly and regularly—at least ½ inch of water every 7 to 14 days. Light watering will help keep plants alive and assist recovery later in the plants’ life cycle.
  • Have thatch professionally removed. If you notice drought signs this summer, check for thatch—the buildup of mown grass between the surface and good soil, or woven around and in between living leaf blades at the surface. Heavy thatch can make your grasses more prone to drought stress when grass roots are in thatch instead of fertile soil. Thatch is like a sponge—it absorbs moisture but dries quickly, leaving grasses prone to drying even after rain. Consult an expert to discuss the proper time and method of thatch removal to ensure a healthier lawn next season.
  • Don’t mow a healthy lawn too short. If you’re just beginning to see signs of stress, make sure you’re mowing high enough for your grasses’ recommended growth. Mowing too close can result in a shallow root system, increasing chances of drought stress. It’s an easy problem to fix if you catch it early.

TruGreen’s answer to “How can I get my grass green?”

The TruGreen PhD-certified specialists’ years of experience and science-based solutions can help you target your yard’s individual problems when you need to know exactly how to get your grass green.

TruGreen’s targeted solutions include treatments specially designed to help drought-stressed lawns. Once you sign up for a TruGreen lawn plan, a TruExpertSM Certified Specialist conducts a Healthy Lawn Analysis®. This examination might determine that your yard is suffering from drought. If so, your plan will be further tailored to manage the hazards of too little moisture.

With TruGreen’s Healthy Lawn Guarantee® on your side, you’ll know TruGreen specialists will work with you to create an irrigation plan and even make extra visits to be certain your grass is thriving—even in dry conditions. To learn more about the TruGreen Healthy Lawn Guarantee and tailored plan options, call 866.688.6722 or visit them online at


Need Help? Call 1-844-567-9909