Water conservation and a healthy, beautiful lawn aren't mutually exclusive. You can do your part to manage water usage, and keep your lawn. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately one-third of all U.S. residential water use is for irrigation, but more than 50% of irrigation water is wasted by inefficient use.1 Whether you're motivated by water restrictions, good stewardship or rising water prices, you can implement simple, water-conserving choices that make sense for you, while at the same time maintaining a healthy lawn.
Understanding Grass Needs
Lawn-water conservation starts with growing the right grasses. When lawn grasses are naturally suited to your local climate, their water needs are in sync with your region's normal growing conditions. As a result, regionally appropriate grasses thrive with less supplemental water and maintenance than grasses less suited for your area. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue, naturally do best in cool, northern zones, while warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass or Zoysia grass, flourish in warmer, southern climes.
Cool- and warm-season grasses respond differently when water is limited. In general, cool-season grasses lose more water through their pores and are less efficient than warm-season grasses in managing water under stress. For example, some Kentucky bluegrasses can use 50% more water per day than Bermudagrass. In some circumstances, the difference may be even greater.2
In addition to differing water usage, lawn grasses vary in drought resistance and drought tolerance. Some grasses avoid drought by retaining more water or growing deeper root systems, others escape drought by going dormant, and still other types resist drought effects by tolerating dehydration well. Growing regionally appropriate grasses increases your lawn's potential to conserve water and retain health and beauty when water is limited.
Growing water-conserving grass varieties, such as those qualified by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA), translates to lower water usage, less lawn maintenance and more time to enjoy your lawn. Whether cool- or warm-season grasses, TWCA-qualified varieties have undergone rigorous testing to prove statistically significant drought tolerance over similar grass species.3 Pennington Smart Seed grasses, for example, require up to 30% less water year after year than ordinary grasses, and they stay green for up to three weeks without water.
Watering Wisely Under Normal Conditions