For gardens in regions that are affected by heat and drought in summer, it is important to choose the right lawn seeds. You can find out how to lay out and maintain a dry lawn here.
Dry grass is vastly superior to conventional grass in dry locations [Photo: randy andy / Shutterstock.com]
Having a dry lawn could be a real advantage in the coming years: Climate researchers suspect that the weather in Germany will develop towards hot, dry springs and summers. For this reason, in this article we will explain to you what makes a good dry lawn, how to lay it out and care for it.
What is a dry lawn and when does it make sense?
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A dry lawn is a lawn that grows well even with less water and in greater heat. Laying out a dry lawn makes sense for you if your lawn is to be laid out, for example, on sandy soil , in an area with little rainfall and in blazing sun.
The term “dry lawn” is used by manufacturers of lawn seeds when speaking of drought-tolerant lawn-seed mixtures for green lawns. Areas with little rainfall and hot summers are particularly well advised to create a special dry lawn. And even light, sandy soils, which are difficult to store water, are greened more reliably with a dry lawn than with a conventional lawn-seed mixture. This makes a dry lawn ideal for a new plant if long-term sustainable gardening is to be used.
Expert advice: The dry grassland referred to here is not to be confused with the biotope, which is also referred to as this, and which develops on extremely dry, nutrient-poor and sun-exposed areas. This not only houses grasses, but also special plants such as the sand carnation ( Armeria maritima ) and adapted animals such as the trouser bee ( Dasypoda ). And the terms “poor grassland” and “semi-arid grassland” used synonymously for dry grassland can be misleading: Both actually refer to biotopes with a special fauna and flora. Lean lawns arise on water-rich, very nutrient-poor areas, semi-arid lawns arise on extensively managed pastures.
What are the benefits of dry grass?
The advantage of dry lawns is that it is easier to maintain than conventional lawns on dry, very sunny areas, but also under normal conditions. It is also called “water saving lawn” because it uses less water due to the frugal grass, which helps you to save money or groundwater and of course valuable time.
In dry summers, even the dry grass needs water [Photo: PEPPERSMINT / Shutterstock.com]
In addition, dry grass also grows on soils on which a normal lawn could hardly exist due to lack of water or only with an extremely high level of maintenance. Laying out a dry lawn protects the environment and you also save yourself the time-consuming soil improvement that would be necessary before creating a more sensitive standard lawn.
The special dry lawns have a small disadvantage: their appearance differs from the appearance of sophisticated ornamental lawns. The grasses are somewhat wider and sometimes a little looser together, which gives them the flair of a Mediterranean holiday lawn. This hardly noticeable difference is only noticed by very attentive eyes.
Correctly lay out and maintain dry lawns
Basically, the creation of a lawn on dry locations does not differ from the installation in other locations. We have summarized all the important points for you below.
When and how do you create a dry lawn?
If you want to create a dry lawn, spring or autumn is best for it. The soil should not be cooler than 12 ° C even at night so that the seeds come up and develop well. After loosening the soil and fertilizing the lawn, sowing, pressing and – very important! – the extensive watering. The seeds will sprout before a month is up and your dry lawn will be created.
Please be sure to note the following: Sometimes the term “drought-resistant lawn seeds” is used instead of dry grass. This term is misleading, because the seeds of drought-compatible grasses are just as sensitive to dehydration in the germination phase as any other lawn seed. The special abilities of the plants only become apparent after deep roots have been formed. Therefore, even a dry lawn near the plant should be conscientiously supplied with water for the first month.
Instructions for sowing dry grass:
- Prepare the lawn by loosening the area about 20 cm deep and removing stones and weeds. A primarily organic long-term fertilizer such as our Plantura organic lawn fertilizer is then incorporated. Very poor soils can also be improved with our Plantura organic turf soil or mature compost.
- Smooth the surface with a wooden rake so that no unevenness can be seen.
- Now the sowing follows. With the spreader or by hand, 12.5 g / m2 each is distributed lengthways and crossways.
- After sowing, the seeds are worked in flat or covered with a maximum of 0.5 cm thick with lawn soil such as our Plantura organic lawn soil and then pressed on with a light roller or running boards.
- After sowing it is watered. You should do this every day from now on so that the seeds and the soil never become completely dry. The seeds germinate after 10 to 24 days and the young seedlings must never dry out. Even after the first green can be seen, it is still a month long: water, water, water! Because the drying up of the seedlings or at least some of the young plants is one of the most common mistakes when laying out a lawn.
Primarily organic lawn fertilizer prevents the formation of moss and weeds
Tip: You can mow your new dry lawn for the first time when it has reached a height of 6 to 10 cm, but do not shorten it more than 4 cm. It is better to sharpen the knives of your mower again before the first mowing, because blunt knives can easily uproot the young seedlings.
You can find detailed instructions on how to set up lawns in our article on sowing lawns.
What is the best way to maintain dry lawns?
The maintenance of a dry lawn is not fundamentally different from that of any other lawn. Even if the dry lawn rightly has the reputation of being a water saver, it still has to be watered in very dry phases.
When mowing the lawn, it is important to note that a dry lawn should never be as short as a rasp: a cutting height of 4 cm is short enough. In spring and summer, fertilizing with a nitrogen-based, primarily organic lawn fertilizer such as our Plantura organic lawn fertilizer is just the thing. This promotes lawn growth and maintains or improves the quality of the soil. In autumn, dry grass and soil are grateful for a potassium-accentuated autumn lawn fertilizer such as our Plantura organic autumn lawn fertilizer, which improves frost resistance through the increased potassium content. Regular mowing and mainly organic fertilization prevent the formation of thatch, the growth of moss and weeds in the lawn and poorly ventilated soil.
Nevertheless, it may be necessary to maintain dry lawn areas by scarifying or aerating the lawn if regular maintenance was not optimal or the soil is very clayey. After heavy frosts or very hot summers, the lawn may be thinned out and light, lose its ability to regenerate and grow more slowly than usual. In this case, re-sowing the lawn is the only way to restore the vitality of the lawn.
Summary: What's the best way to maintain dry lawns?
- Water when it is very dry
- Cutting height not lower than 4 cm
- Regular nutrient supply with mainly organic lawn fertilizers
- Regular mowing and fertilizing helps prevent thatch and soil compaction
- Reseeding may be necessary after very cold winters or hot summers
Long roots ensure better absorption of stored water in dry grasslands
Buying dry grass: which dry grass seeds to choose?
Lawn seed mixtures for dry lawns are characterized by the drought-compatible grasses they contain. They should make up the lion's share of the mix.Our Plantura premium quality dry lawns contain the following suitable grasses:
- 70% Festuca arundinacea : For minimized maintenance and water requirements of the dry lawn
- 20% Poa pratensis : For high resilience and tolerance to drought
- 10% Lolium perenne : For quick germination and good regeneration through the formation of runners
The good germinability of the seeds should not be neglected. An RSM certification guarantees a high germination rate of the seeds through strict quality controls. In order to plan and successfully lay out a lawn, it is very important to know about the germinability of the seeds, which is why we recommend using RSM-certified seeds. If you have spent money on good seeds, you should not simply be left with the creation of the lawn: Responsible manufacturers also ensure that your lawn system is a success by providing detailed instructions on the package or further care instructions on the Internet to help you create the perfect dry lawn accompany.
Summary: Buy dry grass
- Specification of the grass varieties contained: Dry grass seed mixtures largely consist of drought-tolerant grasses
- High germination rate and quality, e.g. RSM-certified seed mixtures
- Precise information on use and further information on the packaging
We at Plantura rely on long-lasting and high quality and would be happy to accompany you with the Plantura dry lawn in RSM-certified quality, with numerous articles on the subject of “lawn and lawn care” on the way to a successful, water-saving and sustainable dry lawn.
Our Plantura dry lawn contains a seed mixture specially adapted to drought
If you are interested in high-quality lawn seeds, you will find our certified Plantura lawn seed mixtures here.