Want a healthier lawn?

Why you should dial down your irrigation.

Did you know that the vast majority of lawns in Northern Utah are “cool season” grasses? This means that they thrive when temperatures are cooler and struggle more in the heat. That’s why our lawns green up quickly in the spring and slow down and stress when it’s hot. In July and August, it can be difficult to keep our lawns from going dormant or brown. To keep them from doing this, we feel we have to apply water fairly frequently.

To understand how to water efficiently for a healthier lawn, we need to understand how grass loses water.

How does grass lose water?

Water is lost from our lawns one of two ways. The first way is transpiration from the blades of grass. This is the process where water moves from the soil into the rest of the plant and into the atmosphere by small pores in the leaves. The second is evaporation from the soil. Evaporation can be minimized by letting your grass grow a little longer — two and a half to three inches is ideal. This shades the ground and keeps it cool, minimizing evaporation.

As most of our turf grass is cool season and easily stays green in lower temperatures, it takes significantly less amount of water to keep it green at those times. As temperatures begin to decrease, try increasing the amount of time between watering. Not only will this save water, but it will increase the depth of your roots and drought tolerance next summer.

Why increase the time between watering?

Many people feel anxious about increasing the amount of time in between watering. They worry their lawn will stress and turn yellow. Allowing lawn to stress a little bit is not a bad thing, as it forces the roots to dig deep into the soil to access water that is deeper down. Training your turf to have deeper roots in the fall and spring will help it be more drought tolerant through the summer when the heat is on.

Most plants like having their roots dry out a little in between watering and lawns are no exception. If you’re watering every day right now, try cutting back to every other day. Increase that to every third day as temperatures keep dropping through the fall. Come mid-September and October try watering only once a week.

The more efficiently we water our landscapes and the more water conservation becomes a part of our daily routine, the more we will have for our growing population without needing to develop expensive new sources of water. When everyone saves a little, we all save a lot.


by Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Posted Aug 29th, 2017 @ 3:00pm