Conserving Water with Lawns
The typical suburban lawn consumes 10,000 gallons of water above and beyond rainwater each year. Here are some helpful tips in conserving water while still having a healthy and beautiful lawn.
Water deep and infrequently
In general, most lawns require about 1 to 2 inches of water to keep the root system moist. The root systems of established lawns generally penetrate about 6 to 8 inches into the soil, although some warm-season grass root systems may extend even further. Deep and infrequent watering will help promote a vigorous root system.
If under irrigated, cool-season grasses may become semi-dormant in the hottest part of the summer, returning to full vigor in cooler fall weather. Regular deep watering is necessary to keep the lawn green through the summer. Turfgrass water use rates, and the resulting irrigation need, also vary based on location and time of year.
Avoid runoff and puddling by spacing out, or cycling, irrigations. Let the sprinklers run for 10 minutes then shut them off for 10 minutes, allowing the water to absorb into the ground.
The best times to water are between 2 and 8 in the morning. At these times, water use is most efficient, water loss from evaporation is minimal, and distribution is usually good because of good water pressure and limited wind. During the afternoon, water is wasted due to high evaporation rates. Do not water during the evening or pre-midnight hours because thatch and blades are susceptible to diseases if they are wet during cool nights.
Check your sprinkler system for leaks and make necessary repairs.
Lawns composed mostly of turf-type tall fescue will withstand drought conditions unless they are newly seeded or sodded.
UC Can Test - Determine your sprinkler output
San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services - 2014 Drought Page
Techniques for Taking Out Lawns - UC Sonoma Master Gardeners
Rethink Your Lawn: Lawns are everywhere in the American landscape. And while they can be useful for recreation or places where family members and employees can relax, they also have many disadvantages. Sacramento River Friendly Program