Reduced Lawn Watering

raymondo17(z9 Sacramento)March 4, 2014

Out here in California, we're experiencing one of the driest years on record. Thankfully we've gotten some rain the last week or two, but we're still way below average. Both local and state governments are urging residents to reduce their water consumption. Is it possible to reduce the amount of water we give our lawns and still keep them looking healthy? I've known the rule of thumb to be "give your lawn an inch of water a week." Are there ways to reduce that and still have a lush, green lawn?

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Not really. the lawn, the concept of a lush green lawn comes from England, that typically has that much moister climate naturally.... and it has a cooler, less variation in temperatures that is also perfect for growing what we think of as a lawn.

People in America put a lot of effort and inputs (water and fertilizer, weed control) to create a turf that isn't natural for most of our climate. (people on the east coast and in the NW have a better natural climate for grass)

I don't water my lawn in the summer and I let it go dormant. It does green back up again in the fall when the temperatures and moisture are more appropriate for grass. My turf is a fine leaf fescue mix that is more drought tolerant. The type of grass that I grow and how I manage it isn't necessarily going to work in other areas of the country. (not going to work in say florida or texas)

I've also minimized the amount of lawn that I have, so I've got more landscape beds of plants that are native to the climate where I live, so they don't need supplemental water once they are established.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:30AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Yes, I have. I have a full yard irrigation system that I have not used in about two years. I did that by planting enough trees that all of my lawn - front, back and sides - gets a half day shade, one way or another. Most grass will do just fine as long as it is not subjected to ALL-day sun. My St. Augustinegrass (yes, believe it or not, that is the correct spelling) has done fantastic with the half-day of sun, a half-day of shade. I'm not really even sure if my irrigation system is still fully operational. And I had my separate irrigation meter removed in January. I love trees.

Carol in Jacksonville, Florida

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:37AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Trees are great, my yard is in deep shade, which is one reason why I grow the fine leaf fescues.

Plus carol, where you live in Florida, you get a lot more rain than many other people. A good friend of mine lives not too far from Carol lives (in Yulee) - however her subsoil is pure sand.... any rain or moisture my friend gets drains away fairly quicky.

I am not familiar with the rain cycles in Sacramento... except for hearing about the brutal drought, how much rain is typical and it is fairly uniform throughout the year where you live?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:40PM
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raymondo17(z9 Sacramento)

Thanks for the replies here.

>I am not familiar with the rain cycles in Sacramento... except for hearing about the brutal drought, how much rain is typical and it is fairly uniform throughout the year where you live?Well, let me put it this way: after about the end of April, average rainfall is about 0.00 until the end of October or early November. Rain is not a factor during the warm season in Sacramento. We rely completely upon our sprinklers during the summer months.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 7:13PM
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How much organic matter is in the soil can determine how long, during a drought, the grass will continue growing and stay green since organic matter in the soil helps hold moisture, and in clay soils helps the moisture tightly held by the clay to be available to the grass. Then again planting drought tolerant grasses, such as Buffalo
Grass, could be an option.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 6:55AM
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