Watering the Lawn

When I went outside to give my kid a ride on the swing, I discovered the mystery of the lawn irrigation. When they started the irrigation around my place it was going off multiple times a night, every night. I set out a tuna can, and found out they were applying a little over a half inch of water. Recently the irrigation was shut off entirely. The lawn is now quite dry and no longer lush green. So a neighbor came up to me and said that I must be cringing over the lawn. (I wasn’t. Just confused.) Turns out they had a leak in the system that needed to be fixed. She then said that they had an owner come up and say that this place looked like a dump due to dry grass. (Now I’m cringing.)

Where I am at, a lawn will survive with one irrigation a month. Not day, or even week. Month. This irrigation, and all irrigations for that matter, should be at least a half inch of water. One is better. If you do water that infrequently, the lawn will go dormant. Yellow, crispy, dormant. This is not a bad thing, and certainly doesn’t make a place a dump. Once it cools off, the lawn springs back into the lush greenness we love.

But most people like lush green lawn. That’s okay. You can get it by irrigating. But watering every day makes me cringe a lot, especially at a half-inch of water per irrigation. Its tons more water than the plant needs. Water the lawn ever day is a common practice around here, although why in the world it’s caught on is beyond me. More does tend to make lawn greener, although in a short-term non healthy way. It’s a lot like caffeine. Quick fix–but in the long run, the plants will crash. Plants, including the non-aquatic lawn, need a good night’s sleep rather than quick fixes. They need deep watering, much less frequently than is common.

I set one of my client’s clocks. Their lawn is watered twice a week, pretty deeply. (They also had a free water check, which is a great program if you are in Utah. They tell you how much to water based on the output of your system. So I really didn’t have to figure out how long to water to put a half inch on, I just set the clock.)  I’ll step it back when I stop by next time. Their lawn looks amazing. It’s getting less than a third of the water than the lawn at my complex was, and it’s actually more lush and healthy.

Do we have to maintain unnaturally lush green lawns in the heat of the summer? We can conserve a lot of water by allowing summer dormancy. But even if you want a green lawn, it needs a lot less water than you think. Please don’t follow what a neighbor is doing. Stop drowning the lawn.


2 thoughts on “Watering the Lawn

  1. typewriter heather says:

    I like this a lot. People are paranoid about any amount of yellow, and it’s okay. Though if they had more plants in their lawns, it wouldn’t be as big of a problem. People like their lawns green because it’s all they have.


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