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Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 26, 2015 9:57 AM CST
Do grass lawns have to be the water hogs they are presented to be? In nature, if you have very little rain, you have a desert. If you have a little bit more you have a grassland. A little bit more rain and then you have a scrubland or open woodland. Then if you have a good bit of rain, the land can support a forest.
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Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Apr 26, 2015 10:59 AM CST
Grass is like any other plant, Kelli, different grasses have different water requirements. Unfortunately, the grass that most folks seem to want to give them that lush, lovely lawn is indeed a water hog, especially in areas of little rainfall. It seems everyone wants to live on a golf course... Shrug!

Here in Louisiana with our fairly regular rainfall, folks still water their lawns. Part of the problem comes from keeping the grass cut too short in order to provide a "manicured" look. When grass gets cut back that much, it allows the soil to dry out more quickly than if the lawn is allowed to grow a bit longer.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 26, 2015 11:13 AM CST
A grass lawn is pretty much an abnormality. What most folks plant as a grass lawn is not usually found in nature.


But if a person wants a grass lawn the soil preparation has a lot to do with it. If the soil is prepared deeply enough and the correct seed or sod is selected you should have an easier time of it. My neighbor scratched some grass seed into 1/2 inch of sand and is forever watering. But on the next street a neighbro did the preparation; the soil was roto-tilled, organic material was incorporated and tilled in, then after rolling the soil flat they planted Floratam St Augustine grass and have minimal watering chores.

If you check with your local water company they might have a list of recommended lawn grass for the area where you live. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Apr 26, 2015 11:37 AM CST
As Greene said, soil prep is very important. Unfortunately, most "lawns" start as a cleaned up area after the house is built and sod is brought in and rolled out with little to no prep. Not a very good way to get a happy strong lawn.

I know folks in your area are in for some rough times lawn-wise with the new restrictions on water usage, Kelli. I wonder what effect that will have on big companies like Nestle and all the golf courses and campuses?
Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 26, 2015 11:42 AM CST
At this point in time, in my area, the residents have watering restrictions but the golf courses do not. (Our yard looks o.k. It is an old lawn and maybe has good roots.)
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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Apr 26, 2015 4:43 PM CST
I am in rural michigan (think well). I sometimes water my gardens, but never the lawn.

Last year, I did not water any of the gardens.

If the lawn dries out and turns brown, I do not have to mow:) Unfortunately, that did not happen last year.

I have tried alternatives (alfalfa, clover), but I prefer grass because it is better at surpressing the weeds & it is easier to walk on.

I spot kill some of the weeds in the lawn, but I do not fertilize. Also. I spot weed the garden beds.

Grass is good! I use it to separate my garden beds. I love grass, but not enough to water it.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Apr 26, 2015 5:25 PM CST
I find it hard to handle that a company like Nestle has no restrictions and can pump as much water as they want into bottles and sell it back at a monstrous profit. I have family in California, and have always supported conservation/recycling efforts.

http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/art...

http://stopnestlewaters.org/about
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Apr 26, 2015 5:27 PM CST
Like Frank we do not water our lawn it will look tough in very hot dry weather, but when it rains it comes back. We do fertilize once or maybe twice in five years because one of our next door neighbors has a lawn service doing theirs it looks like a green carpet but they have to cut it twice a week. We cut ours once a week when it needs it and don't cut when it is hot and dry. We are in the north and everyone has lawns but most folks don't water their lawns at least not around here. I sometimes water the gardens when it is very dry, depends on how much rain we get during the garden season.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
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Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Apr 27, 2015 11:23 AM CST
A lawn isn't a natural phenomenon as you so easily put it :p Different species of grass have different environmental requirements. A standard lawn as most people have is usually made up of different species of grass and they will grow.
However, you'll soon notice after one or two seasons if you left it unattended, weeds and WILD grasses will take over because they're more adapted to the conditions at that point (light, drought, temperature etc) and eventually you'll end up with a meadow looking Serengeti so to speak :p
Grass has because of it's shallow root system a much harder time in dry weather. If it goes unwatered long enough it'll die and its place will be taken by a plant that's much less demanding in that regard. So watering a lawn is not only to keep it green, but indirectly also to keep out weeds. A strong, healthy, well watered lawn is a weed suppressing lawn.
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Apr 27, 2015 12:34 PM CST
Our lawn has been in place for fifty years and looks good other than dandelions which we get rid of as needed. In our far north climate with rich soil grass does well without a lot of extra work and looks good most of the season except when it is extremely hot and dry when it goes partially dormant until it rains then it is green in a few days it is a mixture of grass seed meant for northern climates. We have never had weeds take over or grass die out and we have lived here the entire time, most of the lawn is thick except for some heavy shade areas that are not quite as thick and heavy. When we started our lawn from seed all those years ago it did get a lot of maintenance care including watering, regular fertilizing and weeding to get it well established.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Apr 27, 2015 1:22 PM CST
I talked with Berling from Berlington Nursery a while back about lawns. She wholesales plants to many nurseries as well as selling miniature roses. She told me that there is a big demand for buffalo grass as it does not require a lot of water and a lot of care. Her nursery is located in the San Joaquin Valley in California where they are going into their fourth year of severe drought.

As for my lawn, who knows what kind of grass Mrs. J planted ? I've removed a lot of it to make beds, but still have about 400 sq ft left. I am not going to make any more beds, so that stays. I do water it primarily to water the maple tree and the roses in the top tier that have extended their roots into that area. (Mrs. J had made that tier far to narrow for the roses she planted, so the roots sought water under the lawn area.)

Since we have no water restrictions up here, I do water it deeply once a week. I don't mow often because I think the longer grass maintains moisture better in my high summer temps.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 27, 2015 3:15 PM CST
We have watering restrictions, can water three times a week for 8 minutes a session. I don't worry much about the grass but am more concerned about the trees that are watered when the grass is watered. We had a lemon tree look bad last year until DH started watering it by hand. We might have to start watering the trees with soaker hoses. I don't think there is watering restrictions on anything besides grass. Last I read, there was no restriction on watering food plants. Meanwhile, the guy across the street waters on the wrong days (and possibly every day) and the guy down the street hoses off his driveway.
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Apr 27, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Kelli, I feel for you with the drought your state is having. I would water in the coolest part of the day or night, if it were my lawn I would not water it and use the water for the trees. Could you change your lawn into a desert landscape with plants that can take little water, some of them are quite attractive and would take less maintenance. Also if you have some grey water that you could use to water your trees that might help them survive. I know I am not in your climate but I have visited the southwest. Good Luck!
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 27, 2015 4:45 PM CST
We already have almost half the yard in xeriscape. We don't have a lot of grass. I have no idea what the square footage is but we have less grass than anything else. DH waters in the morning before 7:00 or in the evening after 4:00. We use well below our water allotment.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 27, 2015 8:08 PM CST
I like lawns, and also enjoy mowing. Our lawn is whatever the surrounding field grass is - we never planted it, just started mowing the surrounding area as we were building our house, then slowly dug out garden beds. Every so often we overseed bare spots (usually from mole activity), and I am always surprised at how much greener that grass is, but whatever the field grass is eventually bullies it out. I rarely water or fertilize the lawn and it looks pretty good until the dog days of summer. I have fond memories of my Dad jumping for joy when his urban lawn turned crispy brown in late summer and he could retire the lawnmower for a month or so.

I consider dandelions and clover as my lawn flowers, along with English daisies and spring crocus I purposely planted/
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 27, 2015 8:14 PM CST
I think those of us in the "upper midwest" are quite blessed with the abundance of water that we have... we have 4 rain barrels, which pretty much take care of the veg garden, and in a very dry summer I will water the perennial garden but since it's partly shaded it doesn't usually need it. The lawn very rarely gets any watering... DH more or less insists on having a "lawn", I could be perfectly happy to plant it all to fruit trees and small fruits (and maybe a couple more flower beds Big Grin ). Kelli, I wish I could have sent just the water that we've had to pump out of our crawl space this spring to you... it would keep your yard in pretty good shape all summer, i think!
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Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Apr 28, 2015 7:32 AM CST
No shortage of water here I'll say...Problem with my lawn is that wild grasses are popping up everywhere. They're easy to recognize because they're a paler green, have broader leaves in a rozet that lie almost horizontal. And they're setting seed...sigh
Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 28, 2015 9:17 AM CST
I looked closely at the front yard. It looks lush (it gets afternoon shade) but it is mostly oxalis. If we killed the weeds we'd have huge bare spots. I'm not a big time lawn person, I just like something short to walk through to get to the flower beds.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 28, 2015 10:09 AM CST
Having a small lawn in the front yard only is a blessing for us being surrounded by big trees who want to suck up any water from any plant at any given time. Because of that, we keep our St. Augustine on the long side, 5-6" tall, mow more frequently and water less frequently and for longer and deeper. The longer grass shades the soil and helps to keep it moist. I also use a mulching mower to help as well. I love my healthy lawn. But it takes effort to keep it weed-free and green.

We are lucky to be out of drought conditions but know all too well what it's like to work around the City's given watering schedule. Timers help with that to give every plant a drink when allowed even when you should be sleeping. But the best time of day to water is early morning just before the sun comes up.

In June, I am going out to San Diego to help my DD with her lawn of weeds. Having a huge watering restriction, more like no watering at all, this will be a challenge to help her make her yard look nice again.
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