Keeping Lawns Green

The month of April was the driest April on record in Houston. One local lawn expert says keeping your grass green might not be as big a challenge as you might think. Pat Hernandez has more.

Less than a quarter inch of rain fell in Houston last month, and the last time more than a half-inch of rain fell was back in January. Some might find it difficult to keep up with the neighbor’s lush green lawn. Thomas Andrews is a Texas certified nursery professional at Cornelius Nursery.

“A lot of them are really concerned. We had a very cold winter. They lost a lot of stuff, so they’re replacing a lot of stuff, and they want to know how they’re going to be able to take care of if through this drought time, so they don’t lose it. Because you spend a lot of money on your plants, in your yard, and the cost of water is rising up, and now that we’re in a drought situation, they’re really concerned on how they can better take care of their plants.”

A thirsty lawn turns from a normal green color to a purple-bluish color during drought conditions. Andrews says the first sign of wilt, or a need for water is when you leave footprints after you walk across the lawn. He recommends applying an inch of water per week.

“The easiest way to tell is if you’ve got an automatic sprinkler system, or if you’re using a sprinkler on the end of a hose, take a tuna can and put it out to the farthest edge, and when that fills up, that’s one inch of water. You’ll know you’ve gotten one inch of water onto the ground.”

But the unusually dry conditions might warrant an inch and a half of water per week. I talked to Christi Dodson, who had an array of beautiful plants she was hoping would survive the dry conditions.

PH : “What’s been the biggest challenge when it comes to your landscape?”

Dodson : “Probably the humidity. Yeah, I think it’s the humidity more than the heat, because I’m able to keep everything watered, but the humidity and then you get a lot of leaf rot, and things just don’t like the humidity here.”

I learned that water makes up to 85-percent of the weight of a healthy grass plant. You can find more information on keeping your lawns from crying of thirst at my Texas garden-dot-com.