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Healthy Lawns without Wasting Water

The restrictions on water use in response to last summer’s heat and drought have been eased by the Fort Worth City Council. Watering is still illegal between 10:00 a.m  and 6:00 p.m. every day. However, there are no rules on the number of days each week or any designated days for lawn watering.

Although the City Council has eased its regulations, we all benefit by wise use of water for our lawns. According to the Tarrant Regional Water District, 40% of our annual water use is for our lawns. Their studies also show that overall homeowners over water as much as 2 to 3 times the amount needed by plants.

Healthy lawns need 1 – 1 ½ inches of water every week.  It’s best to water thoroughly, slowly and less frequently. Because our soil has a heavy clay content, running your sprinklers for three 10-minute sessions is more effective than one 30-minute session. This helps water to soak in and prevents run-off. The goal is for water to permeate 4 inches into the soil allowing grasses to develop healthy root systems.

For all of us in North Texas, droughts aren’t the only reason to conserve water. The number of people living in our region is expected to double in the next 50 years. There are no shortcuts to increasing water supplies. The options are limited and expensive. According to the 2012 State Water Plan, almost a quarter of our area’s future water supplies will come from conservation and reuse.

The Tarrant Regional Water District acknowledges that watering our lawns more efficiently is a simple concept, but it has huge ripple effects. Last summer’s regulations for two-days-a-week watering actually saved about 10% from unrestricted water use. Conservation slows the need for costly new supply projects, helps spread the costs of these new projects over time, and keeps more water in our reservoirs — providing environmental and recreational benefits.

Being wise in our use of water is consistent with good horticulture and will protect the environment.

Here are some useful websites:

http://www.savetarrantwater.com/Pages/OutdoorWateringTips.aspx

http://www.soilsalive.com/images/uploads/wateringguide_web07.pdf

http://www.savetarrantwater.com/Pages/Links.aspx

Judy Harman

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