To keep your green lawn during drought, listen to the pro
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s not the year of the lush, green lawn. Amid a drought, this is the summer of “survival watering,” and you can keep your lawn — yellow, yes — alive if you follow the expert’s advice.
Horticulturist Taun Beddes of USU Extension joined KSL NewsRadio about how to keep a lawn green, without breaking the local rules on watering during Utah’s exceptional drought.
Utah.gov issued this alert:
Due to the severe drought, we recommend watering 2 times per week in Northern Utah and 3 times a week in Southern Utah to help extend the water supply. The goal during extreme drought conditions isn’t lush landscapes but rather “survival watering” to keep high-value plants alive like trees and shrubs. Grass is resilient and can survive with as little as 1 inch of water a month.
Salt Lake County Water Conservation: Did you know watering your lawn is more effective at night? You lose a lot of water due to evaporation during the hot sun of the day – as much as 20%-30%.
But lawn care expert Matt Maurer, owner of PureLawn Lawn Services, tells Popular Mechanics: “A wet lawn at night is the perfect condition for fungus to grow.”
Can nightly watering breed fungus, Mr. Beddes?
“It can, if you’re watering daily or nightly in this case, because the water never completely evaporates and it creates humid conditions especially if you have compacted soil or a lot of thatch*, but twice a week at night, you should not develop fungal diseases because the lawn is drying out in between those your irrigation events,” he said.
*Thatch is a layer of organic matter that accumulates on a lawn around the base of the grass plants.
Lawns in a native environment are green in spring and autumn from natural precipitation grass goes dormant in summer when temperatures rise about 90 degrees.
“As long as [lawns] are getting about a half-inch to one inch of water monthly, the roots and crowns stay very healthy, and the tops just brown out,” Beddes said.
He added that twice weekly watering is enough to keep your lawn alive and “actually quiet green.”
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