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Growing a Lawn in a Dry Climate

Adapting lawns to deal with water scarcity

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Growing a Lawn in a Dry Climate

Reducing lawn size is a great way to conserve water

photo © Wikimedia Commons

Lawns take a lot of flak for their consumption of water but the truth is that most lawns are grossly overwatered and it is possible to bring a lawn through a drought and even grow a lawn during dry, drought stricken conditions. Weaning a lawn off of it's water habit is the first step, this contributes to a deeper root system and a healthier plant which is more tolerant to adverse conditions. Selecting drought tolerant grasses and avoiding further stresses on a drought stricken lawn further the effort of getting through periods of water scarcity.

The Basics of Watering the Lawn - It all starts with the basics. Most lawns are over-watered to begin with so learning how to properly water a lawn will go a long way towards supporting it during times of drought or water restrictions. An often overlooked fact is that people are responsible for the water use on lawns, not the lawns themselves. Even water loving grass species like Kentucky bluegrass are capable of surviving and thriving with much less water than they are normally accustomed to. Read more...

How to Manage a Lawn During a Drought - Beyond "training" a lawn to survive with less water, there are management techniques you can use to help the lawn during times of drought. Not surprisingly, staying off the lawn is the biggest help. Drought conditions are extremely stressful to a lawn so avoiding further stress is key. Hold off on projects like aerating and detaching and keep the height of cut as high as possible so the plant retains all the moisture that it can. Read more...

Drought Tolerant Grasses for Cool Season Lawns - Kentucky bluegrass is the most common cool season lawn grass but it's water requirements are among the highest of all the cool season grasses. As water becomes more scarce and costly many homeowners are making the switch to drought tolerant grass species. Many species of fescue are able to withstand periods of little or no water and are now becoming more popular for use on home lawns. Read more...

Drought Tolerant Grasses for Warm Season Lawns - Many common warm season grasses are also water lovers but extended droughts throughout the American south have brought drought tolerant grass species to the forefront. Drought tolerant species of warm season grasses are plentiful and sometimes the drought resistance can be narrowed down to certain cultivars within a species. Some thrive in arid environments while others approach near dormancy until the rainy season when they jump back into periods of growth. Read more...

Dealing with Summer Heat - Often it is not an extended drought but regular summer heat that can stress a lawn out to the point of decline. Again, managing for the stresses will prepare the lawn for drier conditions and better allow it to pull through the tough times. Keeping the height of cut as high as possible and encouraging deep rooting are the most important aspects of dealing with summer heat. It is also crucial to avoid further stresses like aerating and detaching to avoid further decline or inviting other destructive elements like insects or disease. Read more...

5 Great Lawn Care Habits - One of the best ways to get your lawn through a drought is to practice great lawn care habits. A deep rooted lawn of the appropriate grass species, when mowed regularly at heights of 3-4 inches grown and in soil with adequate organic matter, should withstand extended periods with little or no supplemental irrigation. Great lawn care habits are the key to weathering adverse conditions. Read more...

Downsizing the Lawn - Many areas of the country have experienced major droughts and water shortages resulting in bans, restrictions, and a cultural shift towards water conservation. In some cases where water is scarce and a large lawn is no longer practical it makes sense to downsize. If a lawn is still desired for children or pets or even aesthetics there's no need to eliminate it completely, just make the area smaller and easier to manage. Read more...

Artificial Grass - Artificial grass kind of flies in the face of everything I believe in but still, I understand it and see it's usefulness in certain applications. Desert environments undergoing water restrictions hardly merit an argument for a lawn and a little patch of artificial turf can be all that is needed for a pet or sitting area. Maintenance is easy and many varieties of artificial turf get very close to looking like the real thing. Read more...

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