Expert says when it comes to water usage, the U.S. doesn’t really have a grass problem; it’s more of a human behavior problem.
Drought is a crisis impacting nearly the entire United States. According to NOAA and the National Integrated Drought Information System, 63% of the U.S., excluding Hawaii and Alaska, is experiencing a drought.
In Western states, the crisis has been more apparent, and efforts to conserve water have been going on for years. At Utah State University, researchers helped to develop a special blend grass that uses 30% less water. It was sold through the utilities department and sold out.
The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program tests different blends of grasses nationwide and studies grasses that use less water.
Kevin Morris is the executive director of the program and says the grass blend created in Utah wasn’t unique but selling it through the utilities department was.
“Warm season grasses like Bermuda grasses naturally use less water than other cool season grasses. But to get some people to use them, because they tend to brown, is an obstacle,” he explained.
State extension services are a good resource to finding local grass blends that use less water and are best for local climates.
Morris says when it comes to water usage, the U.S. doesn’t really have a grass problem; it’s more of a human behavior problem.
“In many cases, what we find is that it’s the way people manage their lawn. Maybe they turn the sprinkler system on and they set it for you know two or three days a week. And if it rains, it still comes on or they water the sidewalk part of the time,” Morris said.
Morris encourages people to educate themselves about lawn care, including when the best times are to fertilize and cut grass, overwatering and pesticide use.
The Lawn Institute is a good resource to learn the basics and become more environmentally aware.