For The Answer
Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Over half of the water used in
Stage I watering restrictions in
If dry spots occur after once per week watering it indicates a problem with the irrigation coverage, or spots with compacted or shallow soil. In the long-term, it pays to correct the deficiency, but in the short-term, just provide some supplementary water with hand-watering to address the problem areas.
The soil under a lawn is the water reservoir and area where the roots grow. The Hill Country and other xeriscape plants can prosper in limited soil, but a lawn needs more than four inches. It takes a reservoir of more than four inches to provide enough water for a lawn to stay green for a week in 95° F plus temperatures.
If you really want to provide the exact amount of water every week to keep the lawn green without wasting any, sign up for SIP (Seasonal Irrigation Program). Go to the SAWS website at www.saws.org and then click to Conservation and to SIP. The service is free and you do not need to be a SAWS’ customer to participate. You provide information on your grass type and the amount of shade. In return you receive a recommendation by e-mail each week telling you how much water is needed to keep your lawn green. The recommendation is based on PET, Potential Evapo-Transpiration. PET is a formula that translates weather data into water needs. The program was developed by SAWS and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. It has worked for ten years.
Hopefully, we will not move into Stage III restrictions,
but if we do, the water use reductions are based on limiting lawn watering to
once every two weeks. Lawns will not be
green with irrigation every two weeks, but they will stay alive. Watering once every two weeks is not an
unreasonable strategy for lawn watering now.
It keeps the
Approximately 50% of the homeowners in
The disadvantage of no lawn irrigation is that the lawn
goes dormant. Dormant is not the same as
dead. Dormant means brown zoysia,
There is a variation on complete dormancy that I find desirable. Let most of your lawn go dormant, but keep a small area around the front door and patio green by watering weekly. This strategy avoids the disadvantage of a completely brown lawn, but can keep the water bill at a low level.