Lawns are one of the largest water users for a typical residential property and can use more than 18,000 gallons per year. So we’re here with tips to help you keep your lawn healthy while using less water.
- Mow lawns 2½-to-3 inches high. Taller grass blades will promote deeper roots and the taller grass will shade the soil, resulting in less water evaporating from the soil.
- Mow weekly to remove no more than the top one-third of the grass blades.
- Keep lawn mower blades sharp. Dull mower blades shred grass tips, causing the lawn to look brown.
- Keep lawn mower clean of bermuda grass. If you have a gardener, make sure they clean their lawn mower before mowing your lawn. Often bermuda grass is spread to homes from gardeners who do not clean their mowers.
- Trim the grass adjacent to sprinkler heads to ensure the sprinkler spray is not blocked.
- Never mow your lawn when the soil is wet. This will result in soil compaction. If you have a gardener, tell them not to mow when it is wet.
- Leave clippings on the lawn as you mow. This will feed small amounts of nitrogen back to the soil.
- Check your sprinkler heads regularly to make sure they are working properly. This is especially true if you have a gardener. Repair broken, bent or sunken heads and clogged nozzles. Adjust the spray pattern to prevent sprinklers from watering pavement.
Aerating and Dethatching
- Aerating is the removal of cores or plugs of soil from the lawn. It is done using a machine called an aerator. Aerating increases water and oxygen absorption to the root zone. This is particularly important for clay soils or sloping ground. You can rent power aerators at local rental yards. Typically, it is advisable to aerate your lawn in the Fall each year.
- Dethatching is the removal of dead grass stems and blades beneath the green surface of the lawn. Dethatching a lawn lets water and fertilizer reach the soil easier. Dethatching is not generally needed unless your lawn has built up over years and feels spongey due to the volume of dead stems underneath.
- Water deeply and infrequently and you will create a stronger, healthier lawn. In our climate, lawns only require water two to three days per week in spring and fall and three to four days per week in the middle of summer.
- Water early in the morning between 3AM and 8AM. The temperatures are cooler, wind is calm and there is little evaporation.
- To eliminate runoff and water waste, use the cycle and soak method of watering. For spray head sprinklers, water in three cycles, 3-6 minutes per cycle. For rotor heads, water in three cycles, 10-12 minutes each cycle. Space each watering cycle about an hour apart to allow the water to soak in.
- Hand-water small dry spots rather then turning up the watering schedule.
- Lawn areas in shade (north/east side of the house) will generally require 50 percent less water than lawns on the sunny side of the house. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
For more suggestions on when and how much to water your yard, check out our Lawn & Landscape Watering Schedule (PDF).