Water saving strategies for lawns

Irrigation - lawns, golf courses, and crops

Three times more water is used during the summer than in the winter, and much (often too much) is used outdoors watering lawns. Because you can sprinkle your lawn on odd or even days doesn’t mean that you should. Grass is a hearty plant that thrives with as little as one-half inch of rain each week in the summer. If you have an irrigation system or portable sprinklers, you can maintain a healthy lawn without wasting water:

1. Pay attention to the weather

During a Minnesota summer with may see heavy periods of rain followed by dry days. Adjust irrigation practices accordingly. Operate your irrigation controller in manual so that you are not adding water that is not needed and might drown the grass roots.

2. Select turf grasses that require less water and can tolerate drought. 

The Choice of grass species will impact irrigation requirements. Traditional turf grass species include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue. The fescue species offer the best drought tolerance potential.

3. Adjust irrigation programs to conserve water 

To encourage rooting and drought tolerance, lawns should be irrigated infrequently (one time or less per week) with a sufficient volume of water (up to 0.5 inches). Set irrigation to sprinkle in the morning because daytime irrigation is lost by evaporation and wind deflection.

4. Use water saving technologies 

Rain sensors connected to irrigation controllers are vital to conserving water. There’s no need to water the lawn during a rainstorm. Conduct an irrigation audit of your system.

For more information see the Watering Practices webpage of the University of Minnesota Extension Service – Turfgrass Science Program.

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