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Lawn Drought Advice from Westland Horticulture

What happens to the grass in drought conditions?

The grass will try to fight by increasing the root system to reach for water. Because of this, it focuses resources to keep the roots alive and as a consequence will turn brown/yellow. So in most cases the grass is not dead, just dormant, and uses as little water as possible to survive this dry spell.

To find out if your grass is dormant or dead: pull it! If the grass comes out easily, with no resistance it is dead. If this doesn’t happen it means the roots are still alive. Another test is watering a small section to see if it starts greening.

What to do in the meantime?

  1. Leave the grass to grow. A longer grass will give shade to roots and encourage them to grow as well, so raising the height of the lawnmower is recommended.
  2. Don’t use top dressing or weed killers on the lawn during this period. Avoid fertilisers unless you are able to water the lawn (think of water resource in your area)


  • Light drought – recovery should be apparent within 7-10 days
  • Medium drought – recovery should be apparent within 7-14 days
  • Heavy drought – recovery should be apparent within 2-3 weeks

How do I recover my lawn?

  1. Rake the lawn lightly and remove any loose material
  2. Water, water and water! (think of the resource in your area).If it does not rain, water heavily for a couple of days. After this period water as normal. Is always better to give a good soak but less frequently instead of little and often. This will encourage deep rooting.
  3. Avoid high traffic when it is recovering to avoid more stress.
  4. After watering there may be some patchy areas. To repair, rake the area and remove dead grass. Apply Gro-Sure Smart Patch, as it contains watering retaining granules and is guaranteed to repair any patch.
  5. Once the grass is recovering, apply a balanced fertiliser to replenish soil nutrients and boost the lawn health. Westland SafeLawn releases nutrients gradually to avoid stress and includes grass seed to fill thinning areas.
  6. If your grass is very sparse or worn, we recommend overseeding the whole lawn with Gro-Sure Smart Lawn seed. It contains a clever aqua gel coating that can absorb 400 times its weight in water to guarantee germination.
  7. Finally if your lawn is dead, you will need to re-turf or sow a new lawn with Gro-Sure Smart Lawn seed, a quality blend that will help prevent this happening if another dry spell occurs. Keep watering well to help seed germination.