What if we had a drought and the lawn didn’t notice?
Because of the continuing drought, gardeners in the Denver metro area will have twice-a-week lawn watering restrictions starting April 1–no fooling.
Along with these restrictions will be higher water bills for using more water on other parts of the landscape, too.
I remember the summer of 2002 and how difficult it was to keep the garden going with limited irrigation. It was fortunate I had already removed a good deal of lawn the summer before, replacing with low-water perennial flowers, shrubs and bulbs.
I’ve dusted off some of the water conservation tactics I used the last time we had Stage 2 drought restrictions and plan to rely on them again this summer. Here are some of my top tips for gardening in a drought:
- Core aerate the lawn and top dress with a thin layer of compost. This gives the turf some breathing room and helps water reach the roots.
- Water only if the lawn needs it. Wait until the weather heats a bit before turning on the sprinkler system. Then use the tried-and-true master gardener technique of poking a screwdriver into the soil before watering. Hard soil means it’s time to water.
- Water only where the lawn needs it. Shaded areas don’t require as much water as unshaded areas.
- Water for half the allotted time and then stop to allow the water to seep in; then water for the remaining time.
- Use a hose with sprinkler nozzle to water the driest areas.
- Tune up the sprinkler system to make sure there aren’t any leaks; add irrigation timers and rain sensors to make the system run more efficiently.
- Dig up some of the turf and replace with mulch or drought-hardy groundcovers.
- Don’t allow water to run off the property or to water the sidewalk; channel it so it reaches all areas of the yard.
- Direct downspouts so any rainwater flows into garden beds and turf areas.
- Save indoor water to use outside, like shower or kitchen warm-up water.
- And one final tip…get used to having a less than lush lawn this year.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please include them in the comments section.