Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Watering tips for your lawn or go rogue!
As we march into our Summer, with the solstice tomorrow, let’s talk about watering. The University of MN Extension has some great ideas to train lawn to be water-wise.
They say, water lawns deeply and infrequently to encourage deep rooting. Shallow watering results in root growth in only the top few inches of the soil which means plants will be unable to survive hot dry conditions in mid-summer.
Sounds simple, but pay attention to the weather. Don’t rely on the “set it and forget it” irrigation schedule programmed into most automatic controllers in the spring.
There have been so many times that I’ve seen it pouring rain AND sprinkling too. That drives me crazy as it’s such a waste!
Anyway, on with the tips… you can select lawn grasses that use less water and tolerate drought. Fescue species offer the best drought tolerance. Fine fescues simply use less water, and tall fescue has a deep root system able to access more moisture.
Adjust irrigation programs to conserve water.
Use a rain sensor to monitor moisture. You can embed it in your lawn.
Also, keep your lawn mowed to 3 inches or higher. I know most folks don’t as it almost seems too long but think of it like mulch. It also improves soil and can work to reduce weeds as the blades of grass shade weed seeds.
The other option, of course, is to skip the vast expanses of lawns and plant native plants. In fact, the state of Minnesota will help homeowners turn their lawns into bee-friendly habitat under a spending plan approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Tim Walz. The state will set aside $900,000 over one year to assist homeowners by covering much of the cost of converting traditional lawns by planting wildflowers, clover and native grasses in an effort to slow the collapse of the state’s bee population.