Will Your Brown Grass Ever Be Green Again? Don't Give Up Hope Just Yet

Drought conditions have stressed lawns in the region, but fall is a great time to prepare for next year

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It was definitely not the year of the picture-perfect lush lawn. Heat waves, a drought and town water bans resulted in acres of dry, brown, dead grass.

“I can't remember any other year, like this year,” said Peter Mezitt, president of Weston Nurseries in Massachusetts. "We had droughts in 2020 and in 2016, but this one was definitely worse because it also came with a lot of hot weather."

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But there is some good news for lawn perfectionists.

We’ve had some rain, and grass is incredibly resilient.  Mezitt said it goes into a dormant stage when stressed, that’s why lawns turned brown this summer.  Some grass types do better than others in these conditions and they can rebound.  But some lawns might not grow back next year.

"If you don't see after this, three and a half to seven inches of rain we're getting here, some green coming up, then your lawn probably is beyond dormant,” Mezitt explained. "It could be dead. So, again, poor soil probably caused that and it's time to rebuild the soil structure and then put some good new seed down."

He said you need five to six inches of topsoil and fall is the best time of year to plant new grass seed.

 "If you do it after you aerate and put a little organic compost down, your seeds are going to take a lot better," he said. "It's these cool nights that the lawns like or that the grass seed likes to germinate and we're into the cool, cool nights now of September."

And it may be a good time to rethink your lawn space.  

“You may want to consider changing some of your lawn areas over to planting bed areas that can tolerate these drought conditions. It seems like we're on a run here to have more of these in the future,” said Mezitt. "There are a lot of plants that can take that full blasting, hot sun location and prolonged periods of no rain, especially native plants."

If you’re up for a weekend project,  fall is also the perfect time to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials in the ground.

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