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Utah is seeing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, and cities are issuing water conservation measures earlier every year. Adapting your lawn care to current conditions has a big effect on water conservation, and it’s easier than you think.
A lot of water conservation efforts take place when you’re planning out the landscaping for your yard. The choices you make during this time will affect your water consumption for years to come. Planting a diversified landscape that includes trees, shrubs, grass, and gardens will be more efficient than just turf. If you’re not redoing your entire lawn, consider adding a large planter or two in your yard, laying down a pathway, or planting a few trees. Even doing this will keep your water consumption down.
When choosing a grass for your lawn, it’s best to pick varieties with deeper roots, because they are more drought resistant. Fescues and Zoysia are lawn varieties with deeper roots that grow well in the Utah area. Add organic materials to the soil to increase water retention. Aerate before seeding initially, and before reseeding in the spring or fall to allow moisture down into the soil and to encourage deep roots. Putting 3-4 inches of mulch in flower beds will keep them cool, keep out the weeds, and keep the moisture in. Place plants with similar levels of water consumption in the same areas so you can water accordingly. This will keep you from over-watering.
Once your lawn is in, how you care for it will affect its durability and water consumption. Watering more deeply and less frequently will encourage your lawn to establish deep roots. Watering during the cooler part of the day, between 7 pm and 9 am will keep the water from evaporating before the lawn can absorb it. On days where your lawn is still moist in most spots but needs some extra attention on brown spots, spot watering can nourish the dry spots without over-watering the rest. Adjust your sprinklers that are over-spraying onto streets or sidewalks so all the water makes it to your landscape.