Can a seed grow in dry soil

How to prepare your lawn for dry summers

When preparing the lawn for dry summers, it is best to start with the lawn. Because: Those who rely on drought-compatible lawn mixtures will keep a green lawn for a long time in heat and drought - and can wait correspondingly longer before watering the lawn.

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Which lawn mix can withstand dry summers?

What the lawn looks like in dry summers depends not least on the seeds used. Do you live in a mild wine-growing area? Do you have sandy soil in your garden? Or a lawn that is mostly in the blazing sun? Then a drought-compatible lawn mix is ​​the right choice.

In addition to the RSM seal of approval (standard seed mix), quality turf mixtures are characterized by the fact that they consist of only a few different types of grass. These are specially designed for the intended use and - in the case of the drought-tolerant lawn mix - adapted to sunny locations and longer periods of drought.

Many manufacturers now have lawn seed mixtures for dry summers in their standard range. It is composed of particularly drought-tolerant grass species and varieties. An essential selection criterion when composing lawn seeds for dry soils is not so much the drought resistance of the grass species as such, but the depth of the soil's roots. The mixtures are usually made up of varieties of grass whose roots grow up to 80 centimeters deep into the earth. For comparison: conventional lawn grass roots are only 15 centimeters deep on average. This makes the grasses extremely robust against drought, because thanks to their deep roots they can access water from deeper layers of the earth and are thus able to supply themselves with water even when there is no precipitation. This minimizes the maintenance effort and at the same time lowers the costs for water consumption in dry summers. A welcome side effect: if the lawn grows well in drought, it is also more resistant to weeds and moss. These tend to colonize the gaps that a damaged lawn leaves behind in dry summers.

In brief: How to prepare the lawn for dry summers
  • Use drought-compatible, deep-rooted lawn mixture
  • Sow the lawn in spring or autumn
  • Repeatedly water the new lawn thoroughly for half a year
  • Mow regularly and in good time
  • Pay attention to a good supply of nutrients

When do you create a drought-compatible lawn?

Although it is possible to sow lawns almost all year round, sowing in early autumn (September) or in spring (April) has proven itself, especially when it comes to preparing for dry summers. Then the lawn seeds usually have perfect conditions such as a soil temperature of around ten degrees Celsius and enough moisture to germinate quickly and form strong roots. In addition, they have enough time until summer to establish themselves on these sowing dates. Young grasses are particularly sensitive to drought - a lack of water can quickly lead to stagnation of growth, to gaps in the lawn and to the spread of weeds.

Another important measure to prepare the lawn for dry summers is proper soil preparation: Before sowing, remove weeds, pieces of roots and stones from the lawn as thoroughly as possible and loosen the soil. A wide rake is then used to remove any unevenness in which water could collect, so that the surface is nice and flat. Then the soil should rest for a few days before you start sowing. Sandy, humus-poor soils, but also heavy loamy soils, should also be improved with plenty of humus - you can either work in turf from specialist shops with a tiller or use sifted green compost - both of these increase the water storage capacity in sandy soils and prevent the surface in loamy soils becomes water-repellent in dry conditions. With the latter, you should work in a lot of sand in addition to humus so that they become more permeable and the grass roots can penetrate deeper. A very important maintenance measure when sowing a drought-compatible lawn is really regular and thorough watering immediately after the plant - even if it may seem a bit paradoxical at first. Because: The grass roots only grow deeply if the soil is also deeply moisturized. If, on the other hand, you water sparingly after sowing, the water remains in the upper soil layer and with it the roots of the grasses. So it is worthwhile to plop down instead of messing up at the beginning: In dry summers, you can save water several times if you were generous in the first six months after the installation.

Tip: Anyone who also integrates automatic lawn irrigation when creating a new lawn can defy the summers of the century. Modern irrigation systems can be timed and controlled via app so that you don't even have to be active yourself. Some devices can be coupled with soil moisture sensors or even take into account the current weather data of the region during irrigation.

Tips for further lawn care

Mowing the lawn regularly and in good time is essential when preparing for dry summers. After it is laid out, it is mowed for the first time when the lawn is between eight and ten centimeters high. Set the cutting height to five to six centimeters the first time you mow, after which you can regularly shorten the lawn to four to five centimeters. In addition, apply an organic or organic-mineral slow-release fertilizer that stimulates the branching of the grasses and creates a dense lawn. More and more gardeners are relying on mulch mowing for lawn care, in other words, they leave the clippings that arise on the lawn. It is broken down in the sward, enriches the soil with humus and ensures that the lawn can immediately absorb the nutrients it contains. In addition, the evaporation protection that the thin clippings provide on the floor should not be underestimated. Tip: Use a robotic lawnmower for mulching - it mows every day and therefore only distributes tiny amounts of clippings on the lawn.

Irrigation of lawns in dry summers

Even the best preparation is of no use if you completely dispense with watering the lawn in dry summers. Start doing this when the grass looks limp and not only when the drought is noticeable. It is also important in heat and drought not to water too often, but to water thoroughly. The roots of the grass only grow deep into the earth if the water penetrates deeply. The right time to water the lawn is early in the morning or in the evening in dry summers. For orientation: lawns on permeable sandy soils require 10 to 15 liters of water per square meter every three to four days, loamy soils or those with a high clay content store the water better and therefore only need to be supplied with 15 to 20 liters of water per square meter once a week .

Practical video: Spring care for the lawn

After winter, the lawn needs a special treatment to make it beautifully green again. In this video we explain how to proceed and what to look out for.
Credit: Camera: Fabian Heckle / Editing: Ralph Schank / Production: Sarah Stehr