The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that half of all the water put on lawns each year is wasted. Here are some tips to help you save water and have a green lawn:
- If you are building a new home or laying new sod, be sure there is at least 6 inches of topsoil beneath the sod.
- Test your soil and consider adding compost as organic material. It will dramatically increase the absorption of water.
- Follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense guidelines for landscaping: Limit the amount of turf you plant, don’t plant grass on steep slopes, don’t install ornamental water features.
- Don’t over-water. Most lawns need only 1 inch of water each week, either from rain or from irrigation. If you don’t have a rain gauge, set out a small tuna can. If it fills up in a week from rain, you don’t need to sprinkle.
- Step on your grass. If it springs back, it doesn’t need watering.
- Water early in the morning to cut losses to evaporation. The middle of the day is the worst time.
- Microirrigation or drip systems, not sprinklers, should be used on planting beds and strips of grass that are less than 8 feet wide.
- Cut grass no shorter than 2 inches. It will promote deeper roots that require less water.
- Install a weather-sensing controller or soil-moisture sensor as part of you automated sprinkling system. They will reduce over-watering.
- Aerate your lawn, as needed.
- If you use a hose for watering grass or shrubs, be sure it has a shut-off nozzle.
- When hiring an irrigator, look for a certified installer. The EPA offers a state-by-state list of WaterSense Irrigation Partners at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/irrprof.htm.
For information, go to:
- Water Conservation Toolbox. http://metrocouncil.org/environment/WaterSupply/conservationtoolbox_residential.htm
- Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program. http://www.epa.gov/watersense/index.htm
- University of Minnesota Extension Service Low Input Lawn Care. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG7552.html
- Irrigation Association Consumer Handbook. http://www.irrigation.org/Rsrcs/default.aspx?pg=consumer_info.htm#5