Dr. Z: Water Conservation and Your Lawn

blue hydrangea
The Aquarion Water Company has stated that "Connecticut is currently experiencing conditions ranging from "abnormally dry" to "moderate drought' due to an extended dry spell."  Their reservoirs are below normal capacity.  So they have asked for voluntary conservation methods to be practiced.
The lawn is probably the first part of the landscape to dramatically show the effects of a drought combined with hot weather.  Concerning lawn watering, the water company has asked that customers only water their lawn twice a week.  So how can you make the most out of this limitation?  When you water, make it count, and water deeply.  Let the lawn grow a little higher by mowing it at a higher height.  When grass is cut higher it requires less water.  By the way, these two tips, watering deeply and mowing higher, are good to practice any time of the growing season.  Any areas of the lawn that are
severely damaged by this drought probably will not green up until the cool weather of the fall arrives.
Lawns that are under heat and drought stress tend to pick up an insect called chinch bug quicker.  Chinch bugs are very small and inhabit the area where the grass is just starting to turn yellow.  They can be spotted by going to area that is yellowish and push the blades of grass apart.  There on top of the soil you should see the insect moving around very quickly.  Chinch works by sucking the sap out of the blades of grass and then injecting the blades with a toxin that causes them to turn brown and die.
Chinch bug damage looks very similar to drought damage, but in the center of the area the dead grass looks to be a dark brown as opposed to when you move out it is more yellowish.  The dry dead grass tends to remain upright as opposed to falling over and becoming matted.
Chinch bug can be controlled organically with sprays of neem oil or pyrethrin.  Most of the standard chemical lawn insecticides should take care of them as well.

Call or stop by to see Dr.Z to have any additional questions answered!

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