With some areas putting daily limits on how much water you can use and when, it can really put a dent in your typical lawn maintenance schedule. The thing is that, while many of us simply mow the lawn, bag up the grass, then leave the sprinkler running all night, times of water restriction force us to reevaluate our current approach, which may have already been wildly inefficient from the start. Some of what has been considered common practice can, in fact, have the reverse effect of keeping our lawns hydrated and healthy while consuming less resources.
So how does one tap into this ancient knowledge and get on the right path of keeping their lawn healthy, green, and vibrant while also using less water? Is that even possible? Here are a few ways you can.
Cut Your Grass to Proper Height
Instead of cutting your grass down to a tight golf green height, maintaining a grass height of three (3) inches benefits your grass and the soil beneath it by:
- Helping the blades grow a stronger, more supportive root system.
- Providing the soil more shade in order to retain moisture.
With stronger deeper roots, grass is more able to draw up water from the soil, which reduces the amount of water needed to maintain it.
Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn Instead of Tossing Them
Even when cut, those discarded blades still have quite a bit of moisture left in them. Rather than simply tossing them in the trash or on top of the compost pile, leaving the grass taller and letting the shorter clippings quickly decompose on top of the cut blades is a great way to re-release all of those nutrients and moisture back into the soil and feed your lawn.
Do be aware that cutting the grass too short then leaving the clippings out can have the reverse effect of smothering your lawn, so setting your mower to its highest height setting before mowing then mowing often enough to keep the clippings short enough to break down fast is the best way to reap the most benefits from this approach.
Feed Your Lawn
Regularly feeding your lawn top-quality fertilizer and lawn food is another excellent way to preserve its health and appearance while also reducing the amount of water it consumes. Plus, a regularly-fed lawn is better at choking out weeds as well as withstanding the brutal heat of summer. Do bear in mind that certain blends of grass withstand more brutal summer conditions than others, so in the event that you have to reseed, consider changing which grass you put down.
Aerate Your Lawn to Reduce Thatch and Soil Compaction
Keeping your soil loose and absorbent is crucial to lawn health, and annual aeration is a great way to achieve this. Lightly watering beforehand will help loosen the soil, then mark sprinkler heads and irrigation lines before running the aerator machine. The best time to aerate your lawn is early summer, after any weeds would have gone to seed.