Sat April 5, 2014
Garden Report

Train Your Lawn To Conserve Water And Survive Drought

As grass clippings break down they provide nutrients for your lawn.
Credit LexnGer / Flickr - Creative Commons

Lawns may have a reputation for being excessively thirsty, but spring preparation will develop deep, drought resistant roots that use less of Colorado's precious water resources. Factors like the soil type, grass type, the amount of sun or shade, and the time of year all affect how a lawn should be watered.

Tom Throgmorton explains how to get your lawn to flourish in Colorado's dry climate.

Soaking the root zone to a depth of 6 inches will train your lawn to use less water. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not saturated. It will take some experimentation to figure out how much water your soil requires to be moist. In the end your grass will have deeper, drought tolerant roots.    

Frequent mowing also trains a lawn to be more water efficient. Use a mulching mower and leave the grass clippings, which will break down into organic matter and nutrients. The preferred mowing height for all of the lawn grasses that grow in Colorado is 2 and one-half to 3 inches. If you cut the grass too short, it will be more water dependent in addition to being susceptible to weeds.

Aerating the lawn in moist conditions breaks up the soil and improves a lawn’s water efficiency. Simply perforate small holes into the ground to allow air, nutrients and water into the soil. As the dug-up plugs break down they add organic matter and nutrients. 

Back in the day composted manure was the only organic fertilizer available. Now there are organic fertilizers that are also environmentally friendly. Alfalfa-based fertilizer is high in organic matter, has all of the nutrients a lawn needs and is adjusted for our region’s soils.

With these few steps, it’s still possible to enjoy a lawn while conserving Colorado's water resources at the same time.   

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