Water Saving Tips For Lawns
Remove no more than 1/3 the height of the grass for any one mowing. For most cool-season lawns, a height of between 3" to 3 1/2" is considered adequate. Keeping the grass slightly higher will increase shade on the soil, encourage deeper rooting and reduce evaporation.
Water thoroughly but infrequently to encourage deeper rooting, increase soil moisture reservoir and to reduce the number of weeds. 1" to 1 1/2" per week is sufficient to adequately maintain the grass. Letting the grass be "thirsty" encourages deeper rooting. To avoid over-watering, monitor precipitation amounts from rain events to adjust accordingly. Water only when necessary. If footprints remain in the grass for an extended period after walking on grass - watering is required.
Water early in the morning to reduce evaporation (reduces water usage up to 40%).
If possible, use soak irrigation lines instead of pop-up heads. These can reduce water consumption up to 60%.
If using pop-up heads, align heads to avoid paved surfaces or other non-targeted objects. Regularly check for leaks and install a rain gauge to prevent activation of system during and just after a rainfall.
Fertilize only two times a year - mid April and late August. Always use a slow release organic fertilizer. Excess fertilizer applications increase water consumption.
Water only every 5 - 7 days (if no rain). A soaking rain can extend that period up to 10 -14 days. Most people apply two times the amount of water needed.
Tall Fescues use approximately half the amount of water per week as Bluegrasses. Tall Fescue uses about 10 gallons per square foot.
Mow in the morning or early evening and not midday - to avoid burning grass.
Cool-season grasses stop growing at temperatures above 90° F. Fertilizer applications will NOT re-start growth. Cooler temperatures in late summer and early fall will promote growth.
If possible, in larger areas, plant native warm-season grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs - once established (usually two years) they do not need supplemental watering or fertilizer applications.
Do not water lawn on windy days (increases transpiration and evaporation rates).
January 19, 2007