Here are some tricks to maintain a healthy lawn and landscape in spite.
Many areas across the United States are particularly prone to droughts and inadequate water supplies. Because of this, many counties and states implement water restrictions. Water restrictions can also be present indefinitely in certain areas simply because water access is rare. At the time of this blog, South Florida is one such place where water restrictions are in effect. Restrictions come in many forms. Sometimes there are 1-day restrictions or 2-day restrictions; its best to check with your local county to best understand your area and what you might be dealing with. Despite water restrictions, there are plenty of tricks you can implement to maximize the amount of water your lawn gets.
The first thing you can do to keep your lawn properly hydrated during dry times is mowing. Mowing your lawn provides a number of benefits for water conservation. Taller grass means deep root systems and large plants require more water. Keeping your grass trimmed and short prevents individuals blades from developing into big water drains. The other benefit you can derive from mowing is grass cycling. Grass cycling simply involves keeping your clippings where they lie. Many people bag their clippings, especially if they have tall grass to deal with, but keeping your clippings to act as mulch will help hold more moisture and water. To reduce the visual problem of tall grass and still keep clippings in the yard to act as mulch try double or triple cutting your lawn. When you go over clippings a second or third time it chops them up smaller making it easier for them to settle.
The other major component of your lawn that you can work with to circumvent water restrictions is the land and soil itself. Aerating your lawn is one way to make your soil more water friendly. Aerating consists of essentially poking shallow holes in a repeated pattern across your entire lawn. This creates more opportunity and surface area for water to accumulate in. In addition to aerating it’s important to limit traffic. The hard-packed soil is the enemy of water retention. The more traffic your lawn gets the harder the soil gets packed, the less water it can retain. Aerating and traffic elimination go hand in hand to make your soil hold and retain as much water as possible.
There is also the water you are allotted to consider as well. Things like more water economic sprinklers, or sprinkler systems set to specific or even manual settings need to be considered. Using your allotted watering on an as needed basis and only watering very thirsty or brown zones is critical in water conservation. The rule to follow here is to simply; let the grass tell you when to water, rather than implementing a constant watering schedule.
Between grass, soil, and water, water conservation in times of water restrictions can have much less impact on the health and beauty that your lawn brings to your home. The reality is that water conservation has been practiced long into our past and will be relevant long into our future.