Drive through any neighborhood and you'll see lawns so parched there's an unspoken question: Will they ever be green again?
With lingering drought conditions, designated watering times and the rising costs associated with maintaining a healthy, green lawn, some people have opted to just let their lawns die off.
But according to Steve Johnson with Lawncraft Landscaping and Maintenance in Martinez, a lawn needs just one inch of water a week.
"A lawn needs nitrogen to help it grow, iron to keep it green and water to make it all happen," he said.
With watering stipulations implemented by the state and county, residents are finding it hard to water during designated times. But according to the May issue of Consumer Reports magazine, watering during the early morning hours, as detailed by current restrictions, is a smart practice.
"We talk about the need for smart watering practices, noting that half of the water applied to residential yards is lost to evaporation, wind or run off," reads a summary of the May 2008 report.
"The rule of thumb for lawn irrigation is to water deeply but infrequently, and to always water in the morning, when the winds are calm and temperatures aren't so hot that the water will evaporate before it reaches the root."
Consumer Reports notes that in 2006, Americans spent more than $44 billion on "professional lawn and landscape services," an indication that Americans want green, thriving lawns.
But a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on water-efficient landscapes says that "within the next 10 years, more than two-thirds of the states in the nation will likely be short on water, even under non-drought conditions."
Following Johnson's rule of giving lawns one inch of water a week will lead to a greener lawn.
After the grass begins to come back to life, fertilizer and weed killers can be applied.
"You cannot put fertilization on a brown lawn," Johnson said. "It will burn it slap up."
By limiting water usage to the morning hours, watering will be needed less often. With the estimated $38.4 million that Americans spend on their lawns and gardens each year, as reported by the National Garden Association, it is wise to maintain something worth so heavy an investment.
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