Beat the Peak: A Conservationist’s Guide to Lawn Care
Cutting down on lawn watering will reduce your water bills and conserve drinking water. Lawn watering consumes large volumes of water and may increase your water rate from $3.40 up to $7.00 per thousand gallons. Lawn watering creates severe demands on our town’s water supply in summer, when our aquifers are most depleted.
Here are some tips to minimize your lawn watering without harming your lawn:
- Minimize irrigation. Healthy lawns need only one inch of water per week, including rainfall. So even if it is your day to water, consider whether it has recently rained or if rain is forecast before you turn on your sprinkler. A soaking rain can eliminate the need for watering for up to two weeks. You can monitor rainfall with a free rain gauge from the Sharon Water Department (781-784-1525).
- Mow high. Keep your lawn 2.5 to 3 inches high to encourage a stronger, deeper root system, reduce evaporation from the soil, and crowd out weeds.
- Leave clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings recycle nutrients (from that expensive fertilzer!) back to the soil, and accumulate into rich organic humus that retains moisture. You will be surprised at how quickly the clippings disintegrate, and appreciate not having to collect and dispose of them.
- Minimize fertilizer. Fertilizers increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount needed. Better yet, use compost. Not only will it add nutrients to your soil; it will enhance its texture and ability to retain moisture.
- Check your soil pH. Acid soil stresses grass, making it vulnerable to disease and less able to tolerate drought. Acidic soil caused by acid rain in New England can be counteracted by applying lime.
- Collect rainwater from your roof. Install a rain barrel under your downspout to collect rainwater for watering your garden. Find out more about rainwater recovery systems at www.rainwaterrecovery.com.
- Replace some or all of your lawn with attractive, low-maintenance drought-tolerant plants. Do you really need all that grass? Think about all that mowing!