Signs Your Lawn & Trees are Thirsty

August 1, 2017 | By Roundtree Landscaping

With the extra rainfall we’ve had over spring and early summer, it’s understandable that we’re probably not thinking about watering our lawns and well-established trees right now. But with the real Texas summer heat arriving, we need to be ready to adjust our watering schedules. Now is a good time to evaluate all areas in your landscape to see whether you have really been getting adequate coverage and what areas might need some TLC.

Landscape Plants Drying Out?

If the soil in areas of your landscape is dry, compacted, or cracked, this is a sign your plants might not be getting enough water. Adding mulch to beds will retain moisture and keep soil cooler through summer. Other signs your perennials or shrubs might need a drink are poor growth, reduced flowering, and wilting. If we have a long bout of no rain and you aren’t watering adequately, then plants may turn brown, lose foliage, and attract pests and diseases as they weaken. Planting waterwise perennials and shrubs will greatly help save water in your landscape as well as keep your landscape looking great.

Turk's Cap is a wonderful drought tolerant shrub for sun or shade.

Your Lawn Might Be Thirsty

Your lawn can give you some clear indications that it needs water. St. Augustine blades begin to fold and turn a dull grayish color when they are thirsty. Dry grass blades also stop springing back when walked on. When you see this happening, it’s time to water the lawn. Bermuda grass can go dormant and turn brown when exposed to drought conditions; but it  can green up fairly quickly again once it gets adequate water. For most grasses, when you see a dulling of color or a light brown cast, your lawn is thirsty.

Trees Need Water, Too

Trees, on the other hand don't always send such clear evidence of stress. It can take years for certain problems in trees to reveal themselves; sometimes after it's too late to correct the problems. Yellowing or chlorotic leaves, as well as brown patches or leaf drop are some visible symptoms of drought stress; but without prompt attention, these signals can mean the tree is too far gone to repair. Just because a tree is large doesn’t mean it can get all the water it needs without your help. Come July and August, be sure to give your trees some supplemental water if rainfall is nowhere in the forecast.

Dessert Willow is a perfect waterwise tree for smaller urban landscapes.

If you have a tree growing in the middle of your lawn, keep in mind lawn and trees compete with water: the amount of water you’re giving your lawn won’t necessarily be enough for your tree. It’s a good idea to provide supplemental water to your trees with drip lines or soaker hoses. Remember that longer, deeper waterings are better for your trees, and your lawn.

Grow Great Roots

Organic root stimulators and soil activators are helpful in nudging plant roots to branch out so plants can take up more moisture and nutrients. Drought stressed plants can benefit from applications of root stimulators.

Datura grows easily from seed and the blooms glow in the evening waterwise garden.

Dry soil makes it difficult for plants to take up water, so amending the soil with organic compost, earthworm castings and other products to increase water retention or to improve soil health will go a long way in healing plants after drought stress. Understanding how to water is another key ways to keep plants healthy through summer. Learn to water  HERE.

It’s never too early or too late to have your irrigation system checked for possible repairs and to give the landscape some much needed attention.


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Collaboration with the Dallas Arboretum and First Men's Garden Club of Dallas.

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