Water Conservation and Commercial Properties in Northern Utah
The drought is going to hit us pretty hard this year. Last month, I talked about how it’s important for us to start rethinking how we manage our lawns for the future. Northern Utah is a desert area with very little rainfall and the high temperatures are causing serious water shortages. I’ve been suggesting alternatives like, such as low-water landscaping styles, but what about businesses and commercial properties that already have big lawns? What about commercial properties that don’t have the money to spare completely redoing the landscape? Is there any way to balance your lawn with water conservation needs?
CV Lawn King, a lawn care company in Cache Valley, says yes. Their latest article has many tips for managing private properties, and most of those tips are also useful for businesses. Let’s take a look and some of the more specific ways commercial properties in Northern Utah can manage their lawns this summer.
1. Smart Irrigation
Next month, July, is Smart Irrigation Month, so in lieu of that, let’s consider smart irrigation practices. Most people waste a lot of water when they don’t need to, or water their lawns in inefficient ways. For example, overwatering is the most common way water gets wasted on lawns. You only need an hour or two of watering your lawn per week to keep it alive if you’ve planted drought-resistant grasses. This may not seem like much, but many people make the mistake of watering during the day. You should never do this, as the hot sun simply evaporates most of it before it has a chance to get into the soil. Instead, you should water during the night.
Many people also have their sprinkler systems inefficiently laid out. How many times have you passed by a business or residence and seen its sprinklers spraying water all over the sidewalk? All the water on the sidewalk goes to waste. You can realign your sprinklers so that they spray on the grass only, making better use of the water.
2. Automated Irrigation
Automated sprinkler systems are a great way to make sure you water at the right time. No one wants to be up at 2 or 3 in the morning just to make sure the sprinklers are watering your lawn. Installing timers to activate the sprinklers avoids this problem. It can create another, however: watering when it’s not needed. You see it a lot. It’s raining, but somebody’s got their sprinklers going. Over-saturating the soil just causes water runoff. This not only wastes water, it carries away soil and nutrients. To avoid this, you can add moisture sensors to your sprinkler system. They will analyze the moisture in the soil and make sure that your sprinklers don’t come on if there’s enough water to sustain your lawn.
3. Redo The Landscape A Bit At A Time
Completely redoing your entire landscape all at once might be more of an expense than you’re willing to do. I get that; your business never seems to make enough money to afford big projects like that. You don’t have to redo your landscape all at once, though. Instead, try finding smaller, individual areas of your commercial property’s landscape that could be enhanced by adding new features. When you decide to add them, select features that have low water requirements, like stone and dirt pathways, patches of native flowers evolved to survive on the natural amount of water Northern Utah gets, and similar options. Talk with a landscape architect to find out ways you can enhance your landscape to look good, while also requiring less water. If you do one small project at a time each spring, you’ll find you’ll have a low-water landscape in no time at much more manageable expenses.
4. Ask People To Stay Off The Grass
If you’re renting out a cabin or condo at Bear Lake, families are probably going to have kids who want to roll around in the grass. There’s nothing you can do about that. If you’re a standard business, however, put up signs telling customers to stay off the grass. Walking on the grass stresses and damages it. While it’s not a lot under normal circumstances, a drought means your grass will have less water to strengthen itself to recover. Telling visitors to stay off the grass will help it stay looking good with less water.
5. Fear Not The Tall Grass
You might think cutting your grass short is a good idea. After all, cutting it short will mean you have to mow it less often, right? Well, it’s not a good idea. Your grass is already going to be growing slowly during the summer. All cutting it short does take away the cover the grass gives it against the sun. Letting the grass grow a little taller will keep the sun off of the soil, which will keep it from drying out as much. You’ll find taller grass will require less water to keep alive and won’t force you to mow that much more often.
When mowing, you should also make sure the blades are sharp. Dull blades make more ragged cuts in the grass, which stresses it out more. Clean cuts will be much easier for grass to recover from, so it will look better afterward.
Balancing Water Conservation and Lawn Care Is A Must
The drought is in full swing already this year. Given the trends of the past few summers, we can probably expect droughts to continue, so this will be a continual issue going forward. It’s important that we work on developing new solutions to the problem of lawn care and water conservation. Small steps can make a big difference over time, so it’s to our benefit to start working on this now rather than wait until we start having serious water shortages. If we work at it, we can make sure that there’s enough water to see everyone through the dry months of our Northern Utah summers. The sooner we start taking these steps, the better it will be for everyone.