AMES, Iowa – As of mid-July, most non-irrigated turf in Iowa is either dormant (brown from lack of water) or well on its way to summer dormancy. Thirteen percent of the counties in Iowa are classified as in severe drought conditions, 66 percent are classified as moderate drought and the rest of the state is classified as abnormally dry.
With local agencies enacting voluntary water conservation programs to reduce water consumption and relieve strain on city water supplies, there are lawn care practices Iowans should consider, said David Minner, turfgrass specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “To avoid severe loss of turf and to conserve water, turf should be managed each year in anticipation of water restrictions,” Minner said. “Even if drought planning hasn’t been part of yard management, there are ways to conserve water simply by knowing when to water.”
He offers these watering tips:
Once the decision has been made to irrigate, water the lawn thoroughly. Newly seeded or sodded lawns require special irrigation. Minner outlines how to determine if the lawn is thoroughly watered, how to care for new lawns, and how to plan for drought as part of regular yard management in the Lawn Watering and Drought Management fact sheet on the ISU Extension and Outreach Dealing with Drought webpage at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters.
Minner will share more details on lawn care during a July 20 webinar 12–1 p.m. hosted by select county offices. He will be joined by other horticulturists with ISU Extension and Outreach who will cover the care of trees, shrubs, vegetables and fruit during drought conditions. Watch the Dealing with Drought Web page for the archive of the webinar.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a webinar on July 25, 1–3 p.m., to discuss crop and livestock options during drought. The webinar will be hosted by select county offices. Check the Dealing with Drought Web page for details as they become available.