Why has my garden gone yellow?

10 July 2018

Question

Why has my garden gone yellow?

Answer

Chris Smith asked Plant Ecologist Howard Griffiths, from Cambridge University, to shed some light on this question from Liz…

Howard - Sure. It's a question really of how grasses grow. Because you’ll all recognise that you can cut grasses regularly but you wouldn't take your lawnmower to your herbaceous border now would you? And that's because grasses grow from the base, their leaves expand up, and that's why you can keep cutting off the leaves normally and they'll regrow again from the base.

But they're also adapted to grow in drying conditions and they also store lots of reserves in their roots. Basically at the same time they'll be packing away reserves into their roots. And so when they get a really dry period, they dry up completely. But don’t worry you don’t need to water your lawn. Many of the colleges we see in Cambridge aren't watering their lawns because we know when the rains come back the grass will regrow from those reserves.

Chris - It does come back incredibly quickly as well doesn’t it? You look at this thing, it looks like a complete desert, it’s completely brown and just a sprinkling of water later. And within literally minutes it’s begun to come back to life.

Howard - Well I wouldn’t say minutes. There are some plants that are able to come back like that they’re called Resurrection Plants.

Chris - But they’re very much greener as soon as you dampen it...

Howard - They will regrow very quickly certainly.

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