Time To Prepare Your Lawn for the Drought

At the end of April, Governor Cox declared another state of emergency over the drought. With the entirety of Utah already facing severe drought and a significant chunk facing extreme drought, we’re looking to have a hot, dry, summer. So, what are we looking at exactly?

The Drought Stats

“Almost the entirety” comes to over 99% of the state being in severe drought. This means that cattle ranchers will have inadequate water supply for their cows and need to change management practices, ponds and streams will dry up, and dust is likely to become a problem. For 48% of the state, the extreme drought means an increased danger of fires and general stress to native vegetation.

Over half the streams are below normal flow and 19 out of 45 reservoirs are below 45% capacity. Snowpack peaked at only 75% of what is considered normal for this area, which is already pretty dry and drought-prone. You can expect to see heavy water restrictions and fire bans this summer.

not good watering practices during drought season

If this is how you’re watering your lawn, you should probably rethink things.

Smart Yard Care Practices

With the summer drought looking to be quite heavy this year, it’s going to be more important than ever to manage smart yard care practices if you want your lawn to stay healthy. We wrote about the best practices for summer lawn care last year and those tips are still the best advice. The Utah Division of Water Resources is also holding regular webinars on the matter.

Any Other Recommendations?

In addition to what we recommend last year, the UDWR has a few other recommendations to consider to conserve water.

1. Keep your Yard Free of Weeds

Weeds are water hogs. They siphon water away from other plants, meaning you have to use more water to keep your lawn healthier. To avoid this, you should take extra time to remove weeds from your lawn.

2. Use More Mulch

Mulch absorbs a lot of moisture and slows the rate of evaporation. Keeping it around your shrubs and trees will cut down the amount you need to water them. Additionally, mixing this with a drip irrigation system can give you even better water management.

3. Check for Leaks

A leaky faucet may not seem like much, but it will waste thousands of gallons of water if ignored. If you haven’t checked your plumbing yet, you absolutely should. Get a professional to look over your pipes and faucets for leaks and fix them where you can. It will save a lot of water and a lot of money.

4. Wash Your Pets And Water Your Yard

If you have a pet, you can save water by washing them outside. Instead of using your bathtub, identify a place in your yard that needs extra water. Wash your dog in that area so that the water doesn’t go to waste.

a yard with the grass largely removed and replaced to allow smart watering practices

Consider low-water alternatives to grass

Don’t Waste Water

This summer is looking to be even drier than last year and that’s a serious problem. In times like this, it’s important that we don’t waste any water. That means having an efficient system for watering your lawn. Automated systems can help measure the moisture in the soil and prevent them from watering when they don’t need to. Timers can ensure that your sprinklers are only running at appropriate times and never get left on. And don’t forget to consider alternative low-water lawn designs.

Let’s all take our responsibility to conserve water in these times of drought seriously!

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