A lot has happened in the last year, so it is likely that few remember 2020‒in addition to many other challenges‒saw a historic drought sweep across almost all of New England. Rainfall for the growing season was 40% below the 20-year average which made for a very challenging year for all cool-season grasses, such as those most commonly found in New England lawns. The high temperatures of summer, coupled with limited rainfall, put a huge amount of stress on lawns, many of which thinned out or suffered from insect damage in their weakened state.
Unfortunately, the early indication in 2021 is that drought conditions have not yet subsided. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost the entirety of northern New England is still experiencing abnormally dry conditions, with some parts in moderate drought already. If trends don’t reverse soon, drought stress in 2021 could reach 2020 levels in no time with the potential for a Flash Drought event.
Not much can completely make up for a 40% drop in rainfall, but watering practices are essential for keeping grass healthy and thick all season long. If you are looking for watering tips, check out our blog post on the topic here.
Along with appropriate watering, there is another key step you can take to set your lawn up for success this summer. This post dives into our Moisture Manager Program and the world of surfactants (also referred to as wetting agents) and how they can help augment watering practices, especially during dry times.
Scientifically speaking, a surfactant is a substance that lowers the surface tension of a liquid allowing it to penetrate and spread throughout the soil profile more easily. In English, it simply means these substances help make the most of the water that does reach your lawn. Importantly, it does not mean that it can cover up for a complete lack of water. Sadly, nothing but mother nature, an irrigation system, or a hose can do that. Instead, surfactants help attract and retain water in the soil longer so it is available for grassroots to take in as needed.
At Mainely Grass, our Moisture Manager program makes use of these special compounds by custom blending them into our fertilizers. This allows us to offer the program to customers at a significantly lower price compared to a standalone product and allows you to choose the Moisture Manager coverage you want–one treatment to help your lawn for about 5 weeks or up to three treatments to cover the full season.
Because the Moisture Manager needs water in order to work, it is essential that you start thinking about it before heat and drought stress are in effect. If you wait until your lawn is already in stress, it will be too late. For most lawns in New England, July and August are peak stress periods, which means you need to be thinking about our Moisture Manager program towards the end of June, if not earlier. Starting at just $30 for a full program, there is no reason not to consider adding a Moisture Manager program to your Lawn Care this year!