UTAH DROUGHT

Wet weather means wait to water says USU expert

May 4, 2022, 4:35 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm
wait to water...
Grass is watered at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The wet weather northern Utah has received during April and May so far has allowed lawns to turn green without irrigation, and a turfgrass expert from Utah State University says there’s no reason why Utahns can’t wait to water.

There’s enough moisture in the soil right now to keep our lawns going until secondary irrigation water is available, Professor Kelly Kopp said. The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, the largest supplier of secondary irrigation water on the Wasatch Front, is in effect forcing users to wait to water. Their delivery will be delayed until mid-May. Normally, it begins in April.

Once that water is available, Kopp said there are ways to use it more efficiently. Those include letting the grass grow longer.

“There’s a direct relationship between the length of the grass leaves and the depth of the roots, so you can imagine that if you’re mowing your grass at three to four inches, you’re going to have roots at least that deep if not deeper,” she told KSL NewsRadio.

When irrigation water is available only once a week, Kopp said there’s a technique called “cycle and soak” that gets water right where it needs to be — at the grass roots.

“You would perhaps irrigate for five minutes and then wait an hour, five minutes and then wait an hour, and then the last five minutes for a total of fifteen,” she explained.

If all of that is not enough, Kopp said grass is tough. It can survive even drastic limits on watering.

“We did some experiments last summer to really push grasses and see how far we could push them. We had some areas that we only irrigated one-quarter inch once per month, which is really a bare, bare minimum. And yes, those grasses did go dormant. But in the fall, they came back and were really doing quite well,” she said.

Conservation districts are also pushing homeowners to “flip the strip.” That means replacing turf in the strip between the sidewalk and the street with landscaping that uses less water. Professor Kopp said there are also grass options that use less water, including some varieties of Kentucky bluegrass.

Related reading:

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah Drought

Low water is pictured at the Great Salt Lake and a new bill is aiming to study the lake...
Dan Bammes

Senate passes Romney-sponsored bill to fund Great Salt Lake study

A bill to study the Great Salt Lake passed through the Senate with a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The bill would provide $5 million per year in funding.
7 days ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
8 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
16 days ago
The Great Salt Lake Collaborative in California. The team consisted of The Salt Lake Tribune, Deser...
Amie Schaeffer

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative wins $20,000 prize in ‘Local that Works’ contest

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative gains national recognition with the top prize in the 'Local that Works' contest. The collaboration is a group of 23 media organizations and community partners focused on the plight of the Great Salt Lake.
18 days ago
Chad Cranney, Assistant Wildlife Manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, pilots a fan ...
Sheri Quinn, Utah Public Radio and Ben Winslow, Fox 13 News

Many options for helping the Great Salt Lake; the simplest — use less water

Saving Utah's Great Salt Lake has become a vital issue as it sits at it's lowest level in recorded history.
21 days ago
The Great Salt Lake is pictured with a receded water line...
Mark Jones

Water levels are too low for some Great Salt Lake sensors

KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank says the Great Salt Lake is again at a historic low, and at least one sensor is no longer in the water.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Wet weather means wait to water says USU expert