Our well is very low this year due to a lack of rain. We are trying to keep the lawn alive. We put shower water on it and so forth in addition to once in awhile using the sprinklers. Would the lawn be healthier if I fertilize it or would that simply stress it out? I know I would need to water in the fertilizer.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Rae Ann from California
When we had a drought here one summer gardening experts gave the following advice: let your grass grow several inches tall, it keeps water from evaporating. Fertilizing your lawn will make the grass grow tall but it will also grow so quickly so you will have to cut it all the time.
If you want to fertilize, use something natural, like corn gluten meal. Be aware that this will make everything grow, including weeds, so it's wise to do it when the weed population is low. It's much healthier for the lawn, does not contain blastingly large amounts of nitrogen, and so will make your lawn healthier. We let the lawn grow until it starts to look like it needs a haircut, and then set the mower height to the second to the highest setting (every mower is different). The mowings go faster, and by the end of the year, all we've done is something like 2 extra mowings. We let the clippings fall back on the lawn.
My DH was a lawn perfectionist until I made him go with me to a seminar put on by our city about conserving water via lawn care. By the end of the meeting, he agreed to do a "We'll try it and see." Been doing it this was for more years than I can recall. This has certainly cut back on our watering. You might also call your local plant nursery and ask if there is a low water requiring grass - buy a couple of squares, try them out and see. I was given some that had been hanging out in the back of a truck and they didn't grow - by the time I got them the grass was half dead. Am going to do it again but get fresh mats this time.
I don't mean any disrespect, however, I feel the availability of water is more important than a good looking lawn. I, too, have a well that is low. I'm scrimping in every aspect. I can live without green grass, but not water.
I would not put any fertilizer on the lawn as it could burn and stress the grass. I would do nothing. The grass will turn brown and look dead but it will come back when it rains again.
I live in the desert and it gets really hot here. We have a well that we use for drinking water and we are very conserving with the water. My husband hooked up a hose for the washing machine and as soon as the hot wash is over, we hook the hose up to the inside drain and run all the rinse water outside to the yard. We have plenty of water for the plants and the trees by doing that and we're still saving water. Of course, sometimes I have to run the hose out through a window to the back yard but so what, it works wonderful and the neighbors are doing the same thing now for their lawns. It helps to keep a nice green yard and the city is saving money, so am I.
This is for Louise. We had an 8 year drought in San Jose, CA (Silicon Valley). We also did a version of this to save our 28 rose bushes as well as a new lawn from the previous year. A tip for you, get an outdoor dual hose fitting and just fit one old short hose to one and the outdoor longer one to the second side. Then all you have to do is turn the little switch when doing laundry instead of changing hoses. We did this for 10 years, even after the drought. Good luck.
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