Watering lawns in Denver’s dry climate can be an exercise in frustration. While the grass looks green and lush after several rainstorms, it can turn brown and brittle before you can say “here comes the sun.”
How can you keep your lawn healthy without overtaxing the city’s water supply? Here are a few tips that can help, from Real Estate Watch:
Don’t overwater: While we are all tempted to drench the lawn to promote a lush look, overwatering can cause more problems than it solves: It can make your lawn vulnerable to fungus and other diseases, wash away expensive fertilizers, and make your lawn grow too quickly. Also, overwatering simply wastes water. Experts recommend that lawns receive one inch of water per week (although this can change depending on grass type and seasonal changes).
Pay attention to your automatic sprinkler system: If you’re like us, you turn on the sprinkler system as summer approaches and leave it at the same setting for the next three months. That’s a mistake, say experts. “You’re not cooking turkey for Thanksgiving dinner,” quips one turf pathologist. Settings should be adjusted according to the circumstances. If it’s been raining for days, for example, the system should be shut down for a while. “After a storm, do not begin watering again until the top one to two inches of soil are dry,” says one water resources specialist.
Water in the early morning: Watering at night promotes fungus and other diseases. It’s best to water from 4-8 a.m., which gives the grass the sustenance it needs to get through a hot day. This is also a time when less evaporation is likely to occur.
Don’t panic what the grass turns brown: Grass often goes dormant during hot weather or drought conditions. “Dormancy is simply a state of reduced water usage where the turf grass…focuses resources on the roots,” notes the Lawn Institute. While brown grass can appear to be dying, this is not usually the case. Experts assure that the lawn will turn green again when conditions improve.
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