Did you know St Augustine turf is 98% water?
When we have extreme heat and only minor rain, it only takes a few days for the water percentage starts to drop. The longer the environmental circumstances continue the worst the drought stress becomes.
This is an example of the early stage of drought stress. The leaf blades have curled up and the grass looks slight gray.
The turf does this for two reasons:
1. It limits the exposure to the sun and
2. It slows the evaporation rate
This turf show fully hydrated areas (Purple) and some dehydrated (Yellow) areas.
The two primary reasons for the difference stressed verse healthy areas are:
1. The sidewalk is 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the soil and radiates the heat to the nearby turf.
2. The area near the fence is getting some shade from the sun
The most severely stressed areas may not survive (see yellow circle). If water (rain and/or additional irrigation) is applied soon most of the turf will be OK.
This area will likely have severe damage that will not recover even if extra water is applied.
This area has an additional problem related to dehydration / drought stress. The area was mowed while under drought stress. The result is the stripping marks or lines in the turf. The pressure from the wheels and even footprints will break the dehydrated stolons. These areas are not likely to recover. In our training sessions we have reviewed drought stress and ask our crews to not mow stressed turf areas. They will leave a note if you have stressed areas they did not mow.
If you have stressed areas, please note that our normal watering will not be able to keep the lawn from getting worse. We will be happy to check your irrigation system to ensure you are getting proper coverage and the maximum amount of water allowed. Call us at 904-724-9114 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can use the contact us page on our website as well. (click here)