In addition to general water conservation tips, such as deep-watering for longer periods of time once a week (versus short-duration daily waterings), collecting rainwater, and watering in the morning and evening to reduce evaporation, The Grasshopper Company recommends following these seven lesser-known, but still effective, tips for saving water this summer:
- Keep your mower blades sharp – Dull mower blades don’t cut grass; instead, they rip and tear blades of grass, which weakens the plant’s health. Sharp mower blades help contribute to turf health and reduce the amount of water the plant needs to thrive.
- Mow higher – A taller turf canopy shades the soil surface and feeds a deeper root system. Deeper roots are able to draw moisture from deeper in the soil, requiring less water to maintain healthy growth.
- Mow less often – In the heat of summer, mowing less often, and at a higher cutting height, helps reduce stress on the turf. Turf that is less stressed requires less water to grow and maintain its health, even during hotter, drier periods.
- Mulch your clippings – Mulching clippings and distributing them evenly throughout the turf canopy when mowing creates a buffer zone between the heat of the sun and the soil, which can have a cooling effect on plant roots and reduce evaporation of moisture from the soil.
- Use a zero-turn mower – Zero-turn mowers require fewer passes to mow a turf area than conventional lawn tractors or push mowers. Less time on the grass and fewer passes of the mower’s weight to help reduce stress on turf areas and reduce compaction in the soil – which encourages better root growth.
- Aerate lawn areas – Properly timed aeration in the fall and spring seasons helps reduce soil compaction. Less compacted soils encourage better root growth and improve water infiltration, both of which contribute to plant health and reduced water consumption.
- Limit fertilizer use – Nitrogen is a key element necessary for healthy soils and healthy plants. But too much of a good thing can be devastating to a lawn. Using fertilizers that encourage fast, vigorous growth in the summer transfers the plant’s energy from growing deeper roots – which is beneficial for withstanding hotter, drier spells – to growing a taller plant. Fast-growing grasses require more mowings and more waterings, both of which can increase stress on the plant and increase water consumption.