Brown is the New Green

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan
Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan

I prefer to grow food in the front and back yard, but it’s nice for the kids and dogs to have some grass to roll around on. If you must have lawn, here are some tips to conserve water from the Greenest City newsletter – and a great deal on a rain barrel for Vancouverites.

The key to a healthy lawn is applying the right amount of water and only when necessary. Sprinkler systems can help keep your yard beautiful and healthy. With simple changes you can ensure that you don’t overwater your lawn. With an efficient system, you’ll reduce your water consumption, lower your water bills, and prevent water runoff. This is especially important in summer when demand is high and supply is low.

 Consider these tips from the City’s irrigation foreman:

  • Water early in the morning. At this time there is less evaporation and water will be absorbed deeper into the soil.
  • Soil can only hold so much water. Long watering times can result in water waste and runoff.
  • Saturate root zones and let soil dry. Over watering results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease, and fungus.
  • Inspect your irrigation routinely for leaks, clogged heads, and other problems which could lead to watering issues, burnt grass, and wilted plants.
  • Watering needs may differ by area. Consider sun/shade exposure and most importantly soil type to identify the different needs in your yard.
  • Don’t water when it’s raining. Rain sensors are inexpensive and easy to install for almost any irrigation system.
  • Install low-volume drip irrigation systems for gardens, trees and shrubs. This will minimize evaporation, run-off, and overspray.

Better yet, don’t water your lawn at all. Lawns do not require watering to survive. If they are not watered they will become dormant and turn brown. When the rains return (and they always do) the grass will quickly return to its beautiful green without the use of valuable potable water.

Quench the thirst of your plants with free water from a rain barrel. Water collected in rain barrels is chlorine-free and an ambient temperature — a perfect drink for a happy garden. Using rain barrels reduce demands of treated drinking water, which is often in short supply in summer months.

Pick up a rain barrel for $50 at any of these locations:

Pre-ordering is advised but not required.

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