Summer heat is here, and that might mean less water in your area. Does that mean you need to let your living landscapes suffer? Is watering your yard or lawn frowned upon by neighbors?
“Having a yard and being a good environmental steward are not mutually exclusive, even in drought or high heat conditions,” explains Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. “Grass, trees, shrubs and flowering plants are a vital part of our living landscapes that contribute to our communities, our families and our health. You’d be surprised at how resilient they can be during times of water scarcity.”
Keep your lawn looking good in the summer with these helpful tips from OPEI.
Accept that brown may not be bad. It’s okay to let your grass go brown. Grass will grow in cycles, “turning on and off,” based on the resources it gets. As water becomes less available in an area, grass will slow down, go dormant and turn brown. Turfgrass is resilient. It will green up again when the rains return — and they always do.
Save your water for more delicate plantings. Flowering plants may require a little more water during drier conditions. That’s okay since these plants are vital to our birds, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Avoid over-watering. Too much water is actually bad for grass, in particular. Overwatering causes the grass roots to grow horizontally, rather than vertically. With less water, the grass has to work harder and will grow its roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. This helps it do a better job of trapping carbon and releasing oxygen.
Know when to water. Most lawns require about an inch of water per week to stay healthy. Water deeply early in the day during the morning. Moisture can be more efficiently absorbed by your lawn’s root system during the cooler part of the day.
Keep grass and shrubs growing. Trim back shrubs when the temperatures aren’t sky high for your area. Set your mower to trim turfgrass a little bit higher. Longer blades give more shade and grass roots extend deeper into the soil. This helps limit weeds and the lawn retains moisture better. Dense turf requires less water too.
Sharpen your mower blades. Dull blades can cause grass to fray. Frayed grass is far more likely to brown. A sharp blade is always important, but it’s critical to lawn care during hot summer months.
Practice grasscycling. Instead of bagging grass clippings, use a mulching mower and return your grass clippings back to your lawn. This will help trap moisture, keeping the lawn cooler and better hydrated. It also saves you some time and energy because you won’t need to bag up the clippings!
For more tips, go to www.SaveLivingLandscapes.com
Kris Kiser is President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.