In Utah’s drought, watering your lawn once a week will turn it brown but keep it alive
SALT LAKE CITY — Almost 97% of Utah is in a historic drought. So if you reside within the Weber Water Basin Conservancy District, watering your lawn will be restricted to once a week. Also there is no planting new landscapes in the district.
Kelly Kopp, turf-grass specialist and landscape irrigation specialist with Utah State University Extension, joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to talk about watering grass amid a drought.
“Is my lawn gonna survive?” asked Dave who lives in the Weber district, which includes Davis, Morgan, Summit and Weber counties.
Brown grass is good in drought
“Kentucky bluegrass is the most commonly grown turf grass in northern Utah. And it can actually survive with as little as a quarter to a half an inch of water per month, which is a very different thing than irrigating one day per week,” Kopp said.
She added she is not concerned about lawns in Utah during the summer but she said she is more concerned about trees, which are more valuable financially and environmentally.
Debbie wanted to know if watering once a week will still keep the grass looking lush and green.
“It’s certainly not going to be looking green and lush,” Kopp said, adding it will look yellowish-brown, which means the grass has gone dormant.
“I like to tell folks is that it’s very similar to the process our trees go through in the fall when they drop their leaves and head into winter to preserve their energy for the spring. It’s a very similar process with our grasses,” she said.
Not green, but alive
Last summer, USU Extension conducted an experiment: one plot received a quarter of an inch of water a month. A second plot received a half inch of water. And a third, an inch of water.
All three had gone dormant by mid-summer. But by September, she said, all three plots had recovered and recovered equally.
“How much water do you think we’ll we’ll be able to put on the on our lawns once a week. It’s more than a quarter inch, right?” Dave asked.
“Oh, certainly,” Kopp said. “You can put down an inch of water in as little as 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes.”
“That is great news,” Dave replied.
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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