Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Water Saving Tips For Lawns

Because of the severe drought, in our part of the world, our cities have restricted their residents to watering their lawns twice and week, after 7 p.m. While some of you may have been accustomed to doing this for some time now, I think the new water restrictions have been an eye opener for many in West Texas. To help us all save water and money, below is a list of ways you can save water on your lawn.

Water Saving Tips For Lawns

Are some grasses more drought tolerant?

Kentucky Bluegrass can survive extended periods of drought by slowing growth, turning straw colored and entering summer dormacy. Once water becomes available again, it can initate new growth form the crown of each plant.

Perennial Ryegrass has very little tolerance for dry conditions and usually doesn't grow in non-irrigated areas.

Warm Season Grasses such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and St. Augustinegrass actually prefer warm conditions and can tolerate most drought conditions due to their deep and extensive root systems.

How much water does my lawn need?
The amount water depends on the type of grass you have. In general, applying 3/4" to 1 inch per week is the sufficient during the hot summer months. Rainfall and cooler temperatures means your lawn requires less water.

Too much or too little water?

Over watered lawns lead to excessive growth, summer fungal diseases and more frequent mowing. 

Excessive watering of lawns also wastes water, increases the need for fertilizer and pesticide run-off.

Too much water can be deadly. When grass is over watered, the roots are unable to breathe, and eventually rot. Often times an over watered lawn looks like it needs water, it will turn yellow and wilt.

Too little water during summer months your grass will go dormant. Grass color will lighten and most lawns will recover when water returns. You can tell when your lawn is thirsty by doing a foot test. 

Walk across the grass and if it doesn't "spring" back up and your footprints are visible, this is the first sign it needs water.

Deep and infrequent watering will maintain a healthy root system and helps to reduce weed infestation.

Water your lawn slowly to allow it to soak into the soil and prevent wasteful run off.

Water in the early morning when evaporation is lowest (5am to 10am).

Mow your grass at the right height. Longer grass increases the depth of the root system, shade the soil, and help with drought tolerance.

Keep mower blade sharp.

Annual core aeration can loosen compacted soil and allow water to soak deeper into the ground.

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