While Vermont and New Hampshire are not suffering through a long-term drought like California, we are experiencing an official drought in many locations, especially in NH. Compounding the problem for lawns is the current high heat. Not only was the spring recovery period skipped, lawns are now into drought stress usually reserved for July. Lawns are simply under horrible growing conditions as we enter early June.
The dry spring and lack of rainfall has not allowed turf time to recover from winter. We are seeing dead white patches mixed in with drought stress. Lawns are looking their worse when May and early June is when they should be looking their best. Winter kill has caused widespread and serious lawn damage on treated and non-treated lawns alike. New grass was especially hard hit but specific turf types like rye and some fescues seemed particularly susceptible to thinning or even death.
What can be done?
1. There is nothing you could have done to prevent this; winter cold/ice/snow are not controllable.
2. Water for 30 min a day with manual sprinklers or turn up your irrigation system starting immediately until we get rainfall. Make sure your irrigation heads are aligned and providing accurate coverage otherwise turf will still brown with inadequate water.
3. Skip dethatching and don’t mow unless you really need a cut. Mow to 3-3.5”
4. Your lawn may need future repairs this summer or fall
5. Hope it rains soon, and the temperature drops out of the 80’s.