Helping Sod Survive Drought


Drought and summer go hand and hand, which means now is the time to keep a close eye on your grass.

Prevention is key, so make sure to keep your sod strong and healthy leading up to the scorching summer months. That’ll make it much more resistant to drought and easier to keep alive in drought-like conditions. Aeration can be a great way to increase drought tolerance, since compacted soil struggles to absorb water, making it more prone to drought than aerated soil.

 Debilitating heat and lack of rain are the perfect storm and can end up wreaking havoc on your lawn. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prepare your Des Moines area lawn for drought. We’re lucky enough to avoid water restrictions most summers, but with this information, you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.


  1. Reduce Mowing Frequency — Mowing non-irrigated grass will put even more stress on your lawn.
  2. Keep Your Mower Blade Sharp — Sharpen two to three times throughout the mowing season for best results.
  3. Avoid Fertilizing — Stressed lawns do not respond well to fertilizer due to their lack of water. Fertilizing can actually do more damage than good. That goes for herbicides and pesticides, as well.
  4. Adjust Watering Practices — If possible, water deeply, but infrequently, and between the hours of midnight and 10 am. A good rule of thumb is to only water once your feet leave an impression in the grass after walking on it.
  5. Reduce Lawn Traffic — Walking on the lawn causes unnecessary stress during times of drought, so do so as little as possible.
  6. Grasscycle — Leave clippings on the lawn when you mow. They are nearly invisible and bring nutrients and moisture back to your grass, resulting in a healthier yard.
  7. Use a Rain Barrel — Think outsides the confines of your hose or sprinkler system for water. Installing rain barrels underneath downspouts with help catch rainwater that can later be used for watering grass or flowers.


Implementing these simple changes in times of drought can make the difference between having a thriving, green lawn and a dormant, brown lawn. That said, a dormant lawn is still a living lawn that can be revived within a few weeks after rain returns. It’s time to stop worrying about the drought — and go enjoy your summer!



Read more:
How Sod Helps the Environment
Do It Yourself Sod Installation
Seasonal Tips
Keeping Shaded Sod Healthy
Dormant vs. Dying Sod
Your Sod Questions — Answered
6 Steps to the Perfect Lawn

Sod Estimates & Pricing

How to Keep Sod Healthy With Dogs
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms In Your Lawn

Should You Rake or Mulch Leaves?

Is Rock Salt Killing Your Lawn?

Spring Sod Installation

Shattuck Turf Farms​​ 515-331-4900