The heat is on, and you can’t afford to neglect your lawn any longer. Every home deserves to be framed by a healthy green space, and it’s now or never if you want to save your yard for the summer months ahead while learning how to protect one of the most precious resources in Utah: water!
Utah is the second driest state in the country and claims the highest water users per person. However, it turns out that a majority of Utah households are overwatering their lawns, according to the Utah Water Conservation Program. In fact, a typical household will use twice as much as necessary!
Besides yard-maintenance basics such as trimming shrubs, aerating grass as needed and whacking weeds, one the most important keys to maintaining a sustainable, responsible lawn is watering it properly—not too little and especially not too much.
The UWCP put together some smart watering tips, such as how long to keep sprinklers running in the summer, to help homeowners, renters and property managers keep lawns in check all season long. Here are some of our favorites for finding a balance between keeping your yard looking good and saving as much water as possible.
Follow the half-inch rule. You should only be applying a half-inch of water to your grass with every sprinkler run. Typically pop-up heads can accomplish that task in 20 minutes; impact rotator heads take about twice that time. Speaking of that, make sure you know what kind of sprinkler head you have and consider moving to a more efficient system if you’re worried about overuse.
Keep it consistent. You want to apply water uniformly to all areas of your lawn in two to three cycles to prevent runoff. To check for an even water pattern, place some water-collection containers in a grid around your lawn. Run all your sprinklers for 10 minutes and then check the depth of water in each container. Check for clogs or breaks in the watering system, and adjust sprinkler heads and spray direction as needed.
Plan for the week. It’s helpful to set up a weekly watering schedule. The Division of Water has a county-by-county online guide that you can check to see the previous week’s weather patterns in your area and suggestions for appropriate watering for the current week. While microclimates in individual neighborhoods or yards may require some adjustments, the idea is to help people apply the precise amount of water used by evaporation and plant processes in the previous week.
Whether you are trying to preserve your lawn while remaining environmentally responsible, or are ready to turn the hassles of home and yard maintenance over to an expert, having a plan for the future of your green space will put you at ease this summer—and all year long.