FARGO — North Dakota State University horticulturist Don Kinzler knows a sorry looking piece of sod better than most, but lately even he is starting to worry if our lawns can bounce back after the dry summer.
If I were to guess, I would say this will probably will not come back.
"We have learned from past droughts, there is a point of no return," Kinzler said. "That, bluegrass lawns cannot remain dormant forever."
The next couple weeks will be a critical time for lawns in the area. Homeowners don't want their lawns going into winter looking brown and dry. At some point in mid-September, homeowners will want to water their lawns to see if it will come back, or if they should throw in the towel.
"The lawns that are the biggest concern are those that are crunchy brown and have had a lot of traffic, either foot or vehicle traffic, and those that are grounded down and have no crown left," Kinzler said. "They probably won't make it, and may have to be reseeded."
In contrast, those lawns in the area that have been watered look much different. Those healthy lawns should be fine for the winter. It's those blond, crispy, sorry-looking chunks of summer sod that may not survive a dry fall and challenging winter.
Another tip to keeping lawns living is to skip mowing if it is crunchy and brown. Homeowners letting their lawns go dormant should water it every three to four weeks with a quarter-inch of water.
"It has been about 32-33 years, since the drought of the 1980's, that we have encountered drought this long," Kinzler said.