LONGMONT – Don’t waste water. Recent downpours, in some areas of the state, have resulted in the Rocky Mountain Sod Growers (RMSG) once again stressing water conservation moving into the growing season. This message is important to the RMSG as work continues with the public and municipalities concerning the science of growing grass, and actual water needs of turf. “Water conservation is important in this state. We want to remind people that grass doesn’t waste water, people do,” said Shane Markham, President of the RMSG.
Lack of education concerning the true water needs of turfgrass is contributing to continued water conservation issues, and increased water charges. Scientific research has clearly shown that inappropriate watering practices waste more water than any single plant group.
If you are receiving water via Mother Nature, you don’t need to apply additional water. This is very important, notes Markham. “Turfgrass water consumption has been studied for years. We know how much water grass requires. The challenge is to educate the public so that they don’t rely on myths and bad habits,” added Markham.
The RMSG advises five basic rules to keep established lawns in peak condition, conserve water, protect the environment and save money at the same time.
1. Watering in the early morning or late evening hours is more efficient use of water. When watering during the heat of the day, some of the water evaporates before it can be absorbed.
2. Don’t “set it and forget it”. As weather conditions change, change sprinkler settings to avoid over-watering. Check in to “smart” watering systems that save water. Your local municipality may offer incentives to purchase such systems.
“Recent rains provided a great deal of moisture in some areas, yet sprinklers were left running in the rain – this clearly wastes water,” notes Markham.
3. Check your sprinkler head coverage – don’t water sidewalks and pavement. Replace any broken sprinkler heads and adjust for maximum coverage.
4. Hand-watering may be required for areas that are under stress. Discoloring is a normal sign of stress. Keep in mind that Kentucky bluegrass, the most common lawn type in our area, is very resilient and is therefore a good choice for this region.
5. Be sure to account for adequate water coverage in windy conditions, as high wind conditions are prevalent in Colorado.
RMSG experts emphasize that bluegrass lawns will thrive on less than one inch of water per week during the growing season. This has been demonstrated through many scientific studies. Water needs change in the fall and winter.
“Scientific research confirms that sod lawns, parks and open areas cool the air while generating oxygen, reducing pollution, controlling soil erosion and purifying and replenishing water supplies,” says Markham. “That is to say nothing of the aesthetic values of sod landscaping and how it positively impacts property values.”
By Stacy Cornay, Rocky Mountain Sod Growers. For more information on new sod or care for existing lawns, visit www.sod-growers.com.