How to Save Water On Your Lawn
A NASA-led study in 2005 found that there were 63,000 square miles of turfgrass in the United States. In fact, grass is the single largest irrigated agricultural “crop” in America, more than corn, wheat, and fruit orchards combined. Not to mention that approximately 50-75% of a residence’s water is required to keep all of that grass alive. That’s a whole lot of water. At the same time, lawns do provide benefits to both humans and the environment such as:
- Green spaces (such as yards and lawns) help reduce the urban heat island effect, lowering the temperature of an entire metro area.
- Lawns can help restore groundwater and reduce urban flooding.
- Yards and lawns help pull a small amount of carbon dioxide out of the air.
- Lawns are a pleasing place to spend your time outdoors, which has been proven to promote overall health.
Luckily, there ways for you to reduce the impact of your caring for your outdoor oasis, starting with water conservation. Saving water while maintaining a green and vibrant landscape doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. In fact, there are many simple actions you can take that don’t require significant expenses or lifestyle changes. Below we have put together a few suggestions for how you can conserve water without sacrificing a healthy and luscious lawn/yard.
1. Inspect Your Irrigation System
Because they are hidden beneath the grass, underground irrigation systems often have leaks that go unnoticed, which is why it’s important to have it checked each season for inspection. Repairing leaks can greatly reduce the amount of water that is wasted each month.
2. Switch to an Automatic Irrigation System
Switching to an automatic irrigation system can help keep your yard thoroughly and evenly watered, better than using a hand-held hose. Although the upfront cost is high, experts can agree that it’s worth it in the long run. When installed and programmed properly, this type of system can help you conserve water by minimizing the growth of weeds and ensuring that plants are watered at the most optimal time of day.
3. Water During the Right Time of the Day
A lot of communities have established water restrictions that limit sprinklers from running during certain times of the day. These limitations are imposed to reduce water waste in your area and should, therefore, be followed. But as a general guideline, you should avoid watering your grass during the hottest part of the day due to the higher evaporation loss that occurs from the sun. Instead, water your lawn early in the morning (before 10am) or later in the evening (after 6pm) when temperatures are cooler and the risk of evaporation is lower.
4. Install a Drip Irrigation System
These systems are designed to water your landscaping more efficiently. They avoid over-watering and mitigate the problem of evaporation and watering areas of your yard that don’t need water.
5. Adjust Your Sprinklers
Do this to ensure your sprinklers are watering your lawn and garden rather than the street and sidewalk.
6. Get Familiar with Your Garden’s Zones
Your yard has both sunny and shady areas, as well as zones that acquire more water runoff than other areas. You can use these as a guide to choose the best plants for those areas. By grouping plants with similar or equal watering needs, you’ll have designated areas of your yard to water—as opposed to watering the entire space
7. Adjust Watering Schedules throughout Irrigation Season
Whether you have a manual or automatic system, be sure to adjust your watering schedules throughout the irrigation season. Different times of year place different water demands on your yard and if you’re not adjusting your water usage you’ll potentially waste a lot of water.
8. Replace Some Grass Areas
Ornamental grasses and low water use plants aren’t just easier to maintain than turf and require less water, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing. Ground moss plants serve as a better alternative ground cover as they are low growing and derive the essential nutrients and moisture needed for growth from the air. If these don’t sound appealing to you, there are other options such as artificial turf, or even yards with rock landscaping that require no water at all.
9. Use Mulch
Mulch is organic material that helps keep moisture trapped in the ground the surface. By evenly placing mulch around the root base of plants, you’ll prevent water from evaporating. Mulch also helps prevent weeds from growing, which suck water away from your primary plants.
10. Avoid Mowing Your Grass Too Short
Since shorter blades of grass aren’t as capable of retaining moisture, you should be setting your mower to a height of roughly two inches. This will help the blades stay long enough to retain the moisture they need.
11. Remove Weeds
You should get rid of weeds as quickly as they appear. Remember that every plant on your lawn requires water, and weeds specifically, are known to draw significant amounts of moisture away from your grass.
12. Harvest Rainwater
Collecting rainwater from your gutters is a great way to recycle. This process is incredibly simple and is one of the oldest methods of watering, or saving water.
While composting itself doesn’t directly lead to water conservation, it does lead to healthy plants and soil. Healthy soil retains water better and helps plants grow faster.
Creating a Brighter Future
As you’ve hopefully learned above, there are many ways to reduce water use during lawn maintenance. Choosing to preserve water is one of the best things you can do to help create a sustainable future not only for us, but for future generations. Visit Spring Power & Gas to learn about more ways that you can contribute to a brighter future for our planet.