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Drought Damage

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The Captain, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    Reading the other threads, we are all trying to survive this oppressive heat and humidity. Different methods. Early start times, power drinks, water on our shirts, anything we can do to make it and be safe.

    Sitting here trying to cool down myself, I'm wondering;

    What we are doing to the turf?

    With the lawns being so dry, (non-irrigated) and grasses dormant, how much do we damage the plants by running our equipment over them now? I know they come back when they get moisture and the temps. drop but, the cool season grasses we have in Illinois are like last years straw. It crunches when you walk on it. Should we just skip the mowing/equipment part until we get some rain and just stick to trimming, mulching and cleanups? I'm afraid I won't have any grass to mow after we do get some rain. Any of you share my concerns or I'm I worried about nothing.......any thoughts?

  2. deereequipment

    deereequipment LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I just had a house built last summer, and I had to put down grass in order to move in. I needed the soil to settle and totally re-do the grading, so I didn't put any effort into keeping my lawn.
    It dried up completely about mid June. It crunched when you walked on it.

    2 weeks ago, we had our first real rain of the summer. 1/2" in 10 minutes. It rained so hard, that part of my rock hard gravel driveway washed out.
    Well, with that in mind, all that water traveling across my lawn, piled up the grass at the bottom of the hill. Now there are large bare spots in my lawn. I don't think that grass will be coming back. The last time I mowed was early June, so equipment hasn't been across the yard.
    When it came up last year, it turned out pretty well, and thicken up alot early this spring.

    It went more than dormant. It washed away.

    So I'm not sure about other lawns. Ones that are as bad as my personal lawn was... I won't run a mower across them.
    Are they too far gone, I just don't know.

    Not even sure if I should suggest overseeding.
  3. SproulsLawnCare

    SproulsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from IN
    Messages: 365

    One lawn that I cut a couple weeks ago looks like I had round-up on the tires. Brown, burnt marks everywhere the tires traveled. This week I am not mowing anything that isn't somewhat green or absolutely has to be cut! I guess it depends on the particular condition of the lawn. This year, the drought caught me before I raised my deck hight.
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    It's just starting to get that way here too. I just mow the areas that need it & trim around the rest as needed. Makes the day go a lot faster too.
  5. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I'm wondering if it's even a good thing to walk on the lawn with my trimmer. You know, just to knock down some of the stringer type weeds. That sure isn't grass growing anymore. Am I doing more harm than good, like mower traffic on grass with frost on it? Really getting bad here and they're talking about 99+ this next week, then cooling down to mid 90s. Wow. Just makes me want to service my snow blowers. (LOL) Wouldn't be so bad if it would just rain.
  6. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    It's just dormant, not completely dead yet. I wouldn't worry about the crunch from walking. The only reason I chose to skip a cut here & there is because it stretches out the inevitable dormancy that you are already seeing.
  7. Turf Manager

    Turf Manager LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    The question is will it come back? Two years ago I went to a seminar in Harrisburg Pa., that year they were realizing bluegrass was not coming pack after cooling and moisture had arrived. After investigation the turf had been dormat longer than normal and didn,t come back, something to think about.
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,451

    When tracks are made and the grass goes brown it don't come back most of the time on St Augustine...bermuda will come back but you will see the track forever.
  9. Americal Vet

    Americal Vet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    I drove out this morning and checked an area that we were planning on cutting tomorrow morning. It's planned to be on site and working by 6:15 to try and beat the heat which will be around 90 by 9:30 or 10:00, and then on up to over a 100 degrees. The area I checked was mowed two weeks ago and the only thing needing touched is a few weeds around the main building, and some low lying areas such as ditch banks, etc. This whole week the actual temps are forecast to be over a 100, and no rain in site.:cry:

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