June and July 2023 Update from Nebraska Turfgrass Science

U.S. drought monitor for June 27 for the state of Nebraska from droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Author: Amanda Folck

This is the happenings at the UNL Turfgrass Program and information to keep in mind as we are ending June and heading to July.

4 weeks until Nebraska Turfgrass Field Day 2023!

Register now for the Nebraska Turfgrass Field Day on July 28, 2023, at the East Campus Turfgrass Research Center in Lincoln.

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GDD Update in Nebraska

We are collaborating with Nebraska gridMET on calculating the Growing Degree Days from 11 different locations in Nebraska. The table below is the GDD count for 32- and 50- degrees Fahrenheit from January 1 to June 26. We also calculated when the growing degree days of the first and second days of 50 degrees days at the 11 locations in Nebraska. This is also in addition to the total precipitation in the same timeframe.

Table 1. Growing Degree Days (GDD) from 11 different locations across Nebraska, the first- and second-degree days (DD), and total precipitation (in) from January 1 to June 26, 2023 (data from Nebraska gridMET).

Name of LocationGDD 32GDD 50First 50 DDSecond 50 DDPrecipitation (inches)
Alliance 2129.04 698.49 10-Apr 11-Apr 11.700
Columbus 2911.14 1250.73 15-Mar 30-Mar 9.272
Fremont 3009.6 1285.2 15-Mar 30-Mar 10.007
Grand Island 2897.28 1179.45 15-Mar 30-Mar 7.248
Lincoln 3201.75 1346.67 5-Mar 15-Mar 7.642
Mullen 2363.31 853.65 8-Apr 9-Apr 13.897
Norfolk 2738.25 1190.16 2-Apr 8-Apr 8.622
North Platte 2479.86 927.54 15-Mar 8-Apr 11.551
Omaha 3050.82 1280.88 15-Mar 30-Mar 9.019
Scottsbluff 2309.22 774.18 10-Apr 11-Apr 15.787
Valentine 2430.63 928.17 8-Apr 9-Apr 14.570

Drought Update 

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for June 27, 2023 from drought.unl.edu

Figure 1. Drought monitor for the state of Nebraska June 27, 2023. From droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Updated information on Nebraska for Drought: https://www.drought.gov/states/Nebraska

For the eastern part of the state, there is still severe drought to exceptional drought while the western part of the state is no drought to severe drought. 

One thing to note with drought, an abiotic stress for turfgrass, is to not mow in the areas of drought. Keep traffic away from these areas. Allowing more traffic on the lawn will damage the grass further in the canopy with less chance of grass recovery.

Water Management in Turfgrass

Due to the drought conditions in the majority of the state, it is a reminder on how to manage water in turfgrass areas. Water is needed for grass areas and varies based on grass types. Check the grass areas and moisture to determine if you need water to avoid overwatering with a screwdriver or soil probe. If water is needed, you should be watering in the early morning hours and apply deep and infrequently.

Based on the NebGuide on Irrigate Home Lawns (Dworak and Reicher, 2011), this publication is a reminder of the amount of water used for home lawns in Nebraska based on grass species. From this publication, the table below is a reminder of how much water use for each of the grass species in Nebraska.  

Table 2. Water-use rates of select species suitable for home lawns in Nebraska († Zoysiagrass is not well-adapted for survival in western Nebraska; ‡ in adapted regions, zoysiagrass can survive with as little as 0.50 inches/week) (Gibeault and Cockerham, 1895; Fry and Huang, 2004).

SpeciesWater use rate (inches/week)Overall drought tolerance
Cool Season
Kentucky bluegrass 1.0-1.8 Good
Perennial Ryegrass 1.8-3.0 Fair
Tall fescue 2.0-3.5 Very Good
Warm Season
Buffalograss 0.25-0.75 Excellent
Zoysiagrass† 1.0-1.25‡ Very Good

For more information on how to properly irrigate home lawns, a link to this NebGuide publication is here.


Fry, J.D. and B. Huang. 2004. Applied turfgrass science and physiology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ.

Gibeault, V.A. and S.T. Cockerham. 1985. Turfgrass water conservation. University of California, Riverside. Cooperative Extension, American Sod Producers Association.

Also reach out to your local municipalities on possible voluntary water conservation mangement timing with your irrigation in severe drought areas. 

Lincoln Residents

Omaha Residents

Updates with the Nebraska Extension Alamac   
Roch Gaussoin- Summer Turf Tips


Amanda Folck- 2023 Nebraska Turfgrass Field Day


UNL Turfgrass in the News

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Turfgrass program is profiled in the June 2023 issue (pg. 24-25) of SportsField Management Magazine, the official magazine of the National Sports Field Managers Association (SFMA). https://sturf.lib.msu.edu/article/2023jun.pdf.

Want to get this newsletter link via email? Email Amanda Folck at afolck3@unl.edu to be on the email list for the information directly to you. 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @UNLturfgrass!

Article Focus

Abiotic Stress, Cultural Practices, Environment, Irrigation, Lawn Management, Mowing, Turf Program