As level 1 water restrictions hit Sydney, here's how to care for your lawn while cutting down on water consumption.
From Saturday, 1st June, Sydney has been offically places on level 1 water restrictions. This means no watering of lawns between 10am and 4pm, hoses must be fitted with trigger nozzles and sprinklers are no longer allowed to be used.
If you don't wnt your lawn to suffer, Steve Burt from My Home Turf has ths advice to help you care for your lawn during water restrictions:
"When watering is an issue, you want to make sure you’re getting the most from your water," he says.
"Water early in the morning for about 15 minutes so the lawn can absorb the moisture more effectively. Alternately, water parts of the lawn that are most in need (drying out more) or the areas you want to stay green," says Steve.
There's a knack to retaining moisture when you're mowing.
"Keep the mower cutting height as high as possible so the lawn retains all the moisture that it can," advises Steve. "Keep your blades sharp, as blunt ones tend to rip the lawn, leaving it with jagged leaf edges, which dry out quickly and turn brown."
"Moisture retention agents are a secret weapon and the most underrated products on the lawn market and should be in every garden shed" says Steve.
"They are easy to click onto your hose and can cover an area up to 150 square metres. During a dry spell or a drought, use a moisture retention agent every four or five weeks to extend your watering and make it more effective," he explains.
Steve recommends de-thatching to help the lawn absorb moisture.
"Thatching is the accumulation of dead organic matter and is nothing to be concerned about, however de-thatching during a drought aids more water to penetrate into a lawn," he says. "Aerating your lawn can also aid in delivering more water directly into the root system."
Reduce foot traffic
Keeping off the grass will do you a world of good as it will protect the lawn.
"The weight from the foot traffic compacts the soil making it harder for the lawn’s roots to penetrate soil moisture. An overall reduction in lawn traffic will help it spring back to life more effectively once the drought is over," explains Steve.
If you’re about to put in a new lawn...
"The drought tolerance of lawns refers to a lawn type’s ability to stay alive and remain green for the longest period of time, while under water restrictions, or when receiving no water at all during summer," says Steve.
"Equally as important when considering the drought tolerance of a lawn variety is the ability of a lawn to recover itself once it has finally browned-off. Meaning that once the lawn looks like it has died-off from lack of water, it will recover and become green again once it begins receiving water," he explains.
If you're looking at replacing your turf, Steve advises Zoysia - a type of lawn that has a very high ability to remain green and stay alive for longer under water restrictions and summer heat.
"Often sold as Native Nara or Empire, Zoysia has a very good ability to recover after drought conditions have ended. This is due to the fact that Zoysia has underground runners to support the lawn," says Steve. "Zoysia grass types are an excellent choice for homes which face water restrictions combined with summer heat and is less aggressive than some other grass types and requires only low overall maintenance."