The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) officially upgraded the ENSO tracker to El Niño on 12th May 2015, which means potentially dry & hot conditions coming up this growing season (spring & summer).
What is El Niño?
El Niño and La Niña have perhaps the strongest influence on year-to-year climate variability in Australia. They are a part of a natural cycle known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and are associated with a sustained period (many months) of warming (El Niño) or cooling (La Niña) in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. The ENSO cycle loosely operates over timescales from one to eight years.
Potential effects of El Niño on Australia include:
- Reduced rainfall
- Warmer temperatures
- Shift in temperature extremes
- Increased fire danger in southeast Australia
What causes an El Niño?
An El Niño occurs when sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean become substantially warmer than average, and this causes a shift in atmospheric circulation. Typically, the equatorial trade winds blow from east to west across the Pacific Ocean. El Niño events are associated with a weakening, or even reversal, of the prevailing trade winds.
Warming of ocean temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific causes this area to become more favourable for tropical rainfall and cloud development. As a result, the heavy rainfall that usually occurs to the north of Australia moves to the central and eastern parts of the Pacific basin, this diagram below explains it quite well.
What does this mean for you?
Well, there’s no secret that lawns don’t like reduced rainfall and increased temperatures, and some plant life will really struggle during this period, especially if Australia gets thrown into another drought where the government may enforce watering restrictions again, but there is ways to reduce the impact of an El Niño.
If you are currently in the market for a new lawn consider selecting a drought tolerant turf variety, such as OZ TUFF, AgriDark, Sir Walter or Empire, these turf types have thicker root systems that help to store away water for when it’s needed most, which help it through the tougher times.
Some couch varieties like the OZ TUFF & AgriDark can actually be left to turn completely brown and will bounce back to life once the drought passes, the broadleaf types such as Sir Walter & Empire still need to at least have the leaf protected from completely drying out, this may mean the occasional watering when it starts to change colour and dry out, but this will still be a lot less than other grasses.
Another great way to drought proof your new lawn is to install a water saving starter fertiliser such as “Sir Launcher” prior to the turf being laid (available with your turf order or from our online store), Sir Launcher contains water crystals that help to provide a steady supply of moisture to your lawn, these soft ‘jelly like’ crystals will absorb water and swell up when wet, which the grass will then take in as needed.
If you already have a lawn that is not “drought tolerant” there are ways to help with this too, soil wetting agents such as the “Lawn Lovers – Lawn Soaker” help water to penetrate deeper below the surface where your lawn’s roots need it most, another product for boosting drought resistance & rejuvenating existing drought affected lawns is the “Lawn Lovers – Lawn Rescue” which promotes new root growth, encouraging the roots to find & absorb more ground water, both are easy to use spray on packs that connect to your hose, and they are available to purchase from our online store.
We hope this has been helpful, if you require any more information please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 1800ALLTURF (0755438304)