(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)
Remember when it was raining every other day? Soils were saturated. There were standing puddles. When the puddles disappeared, the water was still there lurking in the soil profile, clogging up pore spaces, and damaging root systems by depriving them of oxygen.
Now, it’s getting hot and dry, and guess what? Those plants that had their root systems compromised during the wet times are the first to crash and burn. And, though those were the WETTEST areas before, now they are the sites that may need the most babying.
Take this site – this is my own backyard. We’ve done all we can to improve the grading and slope. The only way to improve drainage in the turf would be to send water towards the house, and I’d rather have declining turf than a wet basement! The spots that are brown and thinning now are the same spots that were puddles back in May and early June. (At one point during a heavy downpour my son thought we should try fishing in the backyard).
So, we’ll baby it along with a little extra water during the dry periods, and do some aerification and overseeding in the fall.