How to Conserve Water in Your Lawn
Our society is increasingly concerned about water. Water is a finite natural resource that is essential to our world, and it is also vital to the lawns we enjoy with our friends and families.
People are seeking ways to keep their lawns thick and green while respecting the environment and conserving water especially during periods of drought. Can a lawn be smart in how it uses water? Can it use it more efficiently? Can it live with less?
The answer is "yes." Like any plant, grass needs nutrients to thrive. Therefore, a smart water conservation plan for any lawn starts with feeding. Feeding not only improves a lawn's appearance, it also strengthens and thickens the grass to help the lawn protect itself against drought. A well-fed lawn grows deeper roots to better absorb water and nutrients. Compared to an unfed lawn, a lawn that is fed uses water more efficiently. Here are four easy tips to follow to help your grass conserve water:
Feed regularly. Regular feedings of Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food provide the nutrients your lawn needs to look its best and withstand the stresses of weeds, heat, drought, and family activity. We recommend feeding twice in the spring and twice in the fall for optimal results*. An early spring feeding helps grass green-up after the winter. You should feed around the first time you mow your grass. Feeding in late spring prepares your grass for summer stress by thickening the blades on top and building deep roots below. An early fall feeding replenishes the nutrients lost in the harsh summer months for quick recovery. Late fall, when leaves have fallen, is the best feeding time because it builds strong deep roots and prepares the grass for winter. Next time you're faced with seeding a new lawn, consider planting Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn. With deep roots adept at seeking out water way down in the soil, this kind of lawn requires less watering than some traditional grass lawns.
Set your lawn mower to the right height. Grass mowed at the proper height, and not scalped, develops a deeper root system to better find water and nutrients in the soil. Properly mowed grass can grow and support more roots allowing your lawn to withstand wear and tear, heat, and drought. Taller grass shades the soil keeping it cooler, plus it's softer to walk on and helps cushion falls better than short grass. Most lawns prefer your mower set to one of the highest settings, providing a 3-4 inch cut. A few warm-season grasses, common in the South, prefer to be mowed lower. Zoysia and centipede prefer a middle mower setting, while Bermuda thrives at a low setting, proving a 1½-2 inch cut.
Leave the grass clippings on your lawn. When mowing, leave the clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings break down quickly and return beneficial nutrients to the soil. Mow often enough to ensure too much of the grass blade isn't removed at once. Removing too much of the grass blade shocks the grass and leaves clipping piles on the lawn that can smother grass.
Rely on rain. Mother Nature usually provides enough water through rainfall for grass to grow strong. If you choose to water beyond that, wait until the lawn becomes dull green in color. Your lawn will also begin to wilt when water is needed, and footprints will remain visible in a lawn that needs water. During hot, dry spells or short periods of drought, you can let your lawn naturally turn brown and go dormant (true especially in the Northern US). Lawns are amazingly resilient and can tolerate drought conditions for up to 2 months if left alone. Grass will bounce back when rainfall and cooler temperatures return, especially if it has been well-fed.
Think eco-friendly. Use a rain barrel to collect rain water that you can then use to water your lawn. It also is more beneficial to water in the morning before the sun is at its hottest to ensure the water doesn't evaporate in the heat before it penetrates lawn roots. Using a smart watering devices can cut down on wasted water by applying it only when the lawn needs it.
*check your local laws and regulations including product directions for use for application rates and frequencies.