A lawn is a beautiful addition to any home. And a lush green lawn doesn’t just look great. It’s also functional. Soft grass is the perfect surface for outdoor fun, from sports to barbecues, to barefoot outdoor play. Recently, water conservation concerns and general environmental awareness have led a lot of people to question the value of a grassy lawn. Grass turf lawns indeed make up a considerable portion of the irrigation water in the US. However, if you are smart about how you maintain and irrigate your lawn, you can save water on your lawn and still keep it green. With any water conservation plan, your first step should be selecting the right turf for your lawn. TifTuf™ Bermudagrass is one of the most water-efficient turfs out there. You can save hundreds of gallons of water when you switch to TifTuf™ Bermudagrass.
1. Use a Rain Shut-Off Device
One of the most common ways homeowners waste water on their lawns is overwatering. A healthy lawn only needs about 1 inch of water a week. It doesn’t matter where that water comes from, so if it has rained in the last few days, there is no need for additional watering. If you use an irrigation system, you can install a rain shut-off device that will automatically skip watering after a rain. The devices cost about $200 to install, including labor. Depending on how much you water your lawn, a rain shut-off device can pay for itself in just a season or two.
2. Install a Smart Controller on Your Irrigation System
You can take your yard into the twenty-first century with a smart controller on your irrigation system. A smart controller usually costs around $300 to install. With a smart controller, your irrigation system can respond to data about weather, soil conditions, and plant data.
A smart controller is especially useful when you have TifTuf™ Bermudagrass. In research studies, plots planted with TifTuf™ Bermudagrass showed an amazing ability to hold onto water. TifTuf™ plots maintained higher soil moisture levels much more consistently than in the plots that contained other bermudagrass varieties. With a smart controller monitoring your soil, you can save even more water on your lawn.
3. Mow to The Right Height
It’s important to know the correct mower height for your grass. Healthy grass uses water more efficiently and requires less watering. If you cut your grass too low, you can scalp the critical crown portion of your grass. Scalped grass doesn’t grow deep roots, so it can’t soak up water from deep in the soil. Also, keeping your grass at the higher end of its ideal length can help shade the soil and prevent moisture from evaporating too quickly.
TifTuf™ Bermudagrass is best mowed between ½” and 2”. While ½” may be ideal for some commercial applications, you can easily keep your home lawn at 2”. The longer grass helps the soil retain more water, and it also provides a softer cushion for bare feet.
4. Check for Leaks
Did you know that a leak just 1/32” in diameter in a hose or irrigation system can lose 6,000 gallons of water a year? When you have a leak inside your home, it’s usually pretty easy to spot. But outdoors, a leak can be much harder to find. Make it a habit to inspect your hoses, sprinklers, and irrigation system every time you mow to save water on your lawn. If you have professional landscapers, just ask them to check when they do their work. Most landscapers will do it as part of their regular service. There’s really no excuse for water lost to leaks. Water lost to leaks serves absolutely no useful purpose.
5. Don’t Touch Those Grass Clippings
You should be mowing often enough that you aren’t taking off more than the top third of the leaf blade. Cutting off too much can shock your grass and leave a dense layer of clippings. But if you mow often—about once a week is recommended—you can leave those grass clippings right where they are. Grass clippings don’t take long to break down, but as they do, they return precious nutrients to the soil. A thin layer of clippings can also help insulate the soil so that moisture doesn’t evaporate as quickly.
6. Feed Your Lawn
It may seem obvious, but too many homeowners neglect to feed their lawns. Or, just as bad, they overfertilize. Using too little or too much fertilizer can harm your lawn. Too little fertilizer won’t allow your grass to thrive and grow the strong, deep roots it needs to suck of moisture. Too much fertilizer can feed weeds and vegetation you don’t want in your lawn.
To feed your TifTuf™ Bermudagrass lawn, use 1-2 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. Split that amount evenly between two feedings, one in the spring and one in the fall.
7. Lay Down New Turf in Spring or Fall
TifTuf™ can be installed at any time, but the best time for water efficiency is spring or fall when the weather is temperate and water doesn’t evaporate too quickly. Freshly installed turf needs more water than a mature lawn. So laying down turf in the summer means lots of water lost to evaporation. Make use of the cooler seasons to install your TifTuf™ Bermudagrass and save water on your lawn. You’ll be happy you did it.
8. Install TifTuf™ Bermudagrass to Save Water on Your Lawn
There are plenty of turfgrass varieties out there. But how many of them have been scientifically bred, tested, and perfected? TifTuf™ Bermudagrass was developed by researchers at the University of Georgia. They tried out thousands of genotypes, and TifTuf™ rose to the top in test after test. Bermudagrass is known as a drought-tolerant variety, but TifTuf™ was shown to use 38% less water and retain 95% more green leaf tissue in drought stress as compared to Tifway, another popular variety.
TifTuf™ is licensed exclusively to The Turfgrass Group, Inc. and its sub-licensees. It is only available through a select group of licensed, certified growers who follow stringent guidelines and undergo state certification to ensure the highest levels of quality. TifTuf™ is top-of-the-line turf that is trusted by professionals and loved by homeowners. You can find your closest TifTuf™ grower here, so don’t wait!