Have you noticed most lawns are just not greening up the way they normally do? The lack of rainfall and continued dry weather has significantly reduced spring green-up and recovery from winter. With minimal soil moisture, dormant grass is unable to push out new leaves made up primarily of water. The resulting drought has stalled the normal lush growth expected in late April or early May. Dead grass leaves from last year remain brown or white at or near the ground level. This visually looks bad, with some minor new leaves but a brown or white tint below. Lots of folks are asking if they should rake up what they perceive as dead thatch. I say “no” because tearing up dead plant material will do more harm than good to a lawn not yet fully growing or recovered.
I am seeing lawns all over NH and VT “simmering”, not really green, not really dormant – a time typically reserved for dark green lush growth. Any rainfall or irrigation can help push out new growth and get things going; after all summer is just around the corner and high heat usually spells trouble for New England grasses. A spring dry period can reduce any lawn’s ability to recover after a normal winter possibly followed by snow mold or ice damage. Some nice soaking showers or a few days of rain can help turn our brown lawns around and get the grass green and growing strong.
Anyone with irrigation should most certainly be using it by now and those who can water with a sprinkler and hose should consider doing so to help revive lawn areas which are just not doing well. Sunny areas may be dry, but so may areas with lots of tree roots. Remember your lawn’s hot spots and those areas which tend to brown first given the heat of summer. Target those sections first because they will most certainly be under stress, perhaps more than other lawn areas.
If rain does not arrive in the next week or so, I would strongly advise anyone who has a lawn care company to irrigate where possible to push new growth and help dissolve any granular/liquid products remaining on the surface of the lawn and move into down into the soil.