How to Keep Your Lawn Healthy with Limited Water
The future of your home is just as important as the here-and-now, and even if you have home insurance, you may be struggling to keep your lawn lush and healthy, especially if you live in the western United States, an area currently suffering from major water shortages. A well-maintained lawn can boost your property values and keep your neighborhood beautiful, but watering it incorrectly can waste large amounts of water. That doesn’t mean you have to stop watering your lawn, it just means you need to learn how to do it efficiently. In fact, a well-chosen combination of soil and grass species can be kept vivid and beautiful with little to no additional water.
Building a Strong Soil Foundation
It might seem strange to focus on the dirt before the grass, but if your soil is suffering, revitalizing it could make a huge impact. Issues like poor pH, thatch, and the mineral composition of the soil itself can limit root growth and make it difficult for your lawn to receive the nutrients it needs. Of course, the composition of your soil also determines how well it holds and delivers water, and this is where much of the waste comes in. Overwatering a lawn planted in dry, sandy soil is just a waste, but you can achieve a nice, moist loam with topdressing, aerating, de-thatching, composting, and liming. Even the thirstiest species of grass can get by during a drought – you just have to make sure the soil is suitable.
Using As Little Water as Possible
Watering a lawn is frowned upon by many for the sheer waste that goes into maintaining a nice shade of green, but improving your soil situation isn’t the only way to reduce your lawn-related water consumption. Your sprinklers, for instance, may not be the best solution for watering hard-to-reach places, and they’re likely wasting water on areas that don’t need to be watered. Automatic irrigation systems are much more versatile allowing you to time watering correctly and save water.
If you water your lawn manually, do so in a way that simulates natural rainfall. Don’t water just a little bit every day – water your lawn deeply, but less frequently. Knowing exactly how often and how much to water depends on your soil and grass species.
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Tougher Grass, Less Water
Some species of grass are particularly well-suited to low-water environments, and through selective breeding, many of those drought-resistant characteristics are more pronounced than ever. Fescues and Buffalo Grass are two extremely resilient species, and each could get by on as little as ¼” of water a week – a quarter of the recommended watering amounts for other kinds of grass. Even when the going gets rough, many resilient species of grass are capable of entering a dormant state, turning brown without dying. When it rains, the grass turns green again like nothing happened. Do some research and figure out the kinds of grass that best suit your situation and your soil.