Water conservation and drought are top of mind for homeowners, but many don’t know how to maintain their yards while reducing water usage. We have some quick tips for both your lawn and garden to make it easy.
- First, focus on having a well-fed lawn because feeding not only improves a lawn’s appearance, it also helps the lawn protect itself against drought. A well-fed lawn grows deeper roots to better absorb water and nutrients. Regular feedings of Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food can provide the nutrients your lawn needs to look its best and withstand the stresses of heat as well as periods of drought and dormancy.
- Then be sure to get the lawn height just right. Grass mowed at the proper height develops a deeper root system to better find water and nutrients in the soil. Taller grass also shades the soil keeping it cooler – so try to set your mower to one of the highest settings to get a 3-4 inch cut.
- Also, as much as you can, rely on the rain. If you choose to water beyond that, wait until the lawn becomes dull green in color and starts to wilt. During hot, dry spells or short periods of drought, you can let your lawn naturally turn brown and go dormant. A well-fed grass lawn will bounce back when rainfall and cooler temperatures return.
- Finally, if you’re interested in alternative lawns or are living in a community where you need to explore alternative ground cover, I’m a huge proponent of the clover lawn. When you use Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn, not only will it stay green with less work, but it also tolerates short-term drought, requires less fertilizer, establishes quickly, and is pollinator-friendly!
It’s all about making every drop of water count by following three key steps (that apply even when water isn’t limiting):
- Start with good soil – mixing nutrient-rich organic matter, like compost or Miracle-Gro Garden Soil, into your existing soil not only makes it easier for your plants to grow, but it also improves the soil structure. Good soil structure means better nutrient and water holding – water is able to penetrate into the soil, instead of running off, and is held where the plants can use it.
- Don’t forget to mulch – mulch not only makes your garden beds look nice and finished, but it also keeps weed seeds from sprouting which would otherwise compete with your plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight; helps keep moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation; and also moderates soil temperature by shading the soil.
- Lastly, water smart – when you do water, water deeply, directing the water at the base of the plant. Deep watering promotes deeper roots which better withstand drought. Water in the morning or early evening, avoiding mid-day, which helps reduce water loss from evaporation. And, if possible, use drip irrigation or soaker hoses in your garden beds instead of overhead sprinklers or a hose and breaker.
These tips will help you take care of your lawn and garden while reducing water usage. Now is the perfect time to get summer-ready and Think Water Positive while you do so!