It’s no wonder we love the look and feel of grass; a lawn provides an area to relax and play as well as aesthetic variety to front or backyard landscaping. Unfortunately, keeping your grass green and lush can be a challenge in our Las Vegas Valley desert climate. But you don’t have to choose between a nice looking lawn and an outrageous water bill. There are a few key ways to cultivate a healthy lawn while being efficient with your water usage.
1. Proper Mowing
Grass that is cut too short will need more water. For most grass types if you are mowing once a week you should not cut more than 1.5-2 inches off at a time. Keep your mower blades sharp and switch up your mowing pattern for the best results. View the video below for some more good tips on mowing your lawn:
If you want good color and lush growth then fertilizing is a must, especially during the growing season. On the flip side of the coin, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you over-fertilize, your lawn will need more water and require mowing more often, so don’t overdo it. Your fertilizer should be equipped with directions right on the bag, but a few general rules of thumb apply:
- Apply approximately ½ lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every month from April to September
- Stay away from nitrogen fertilizers at the end of the growing season
- Time-release fertilizers are worth the extra expense (they save you time and are more efficient)
- Fertilize early morning or late evening and water well right after
- For the late summer/fall use formulas with iron to increase the green color
3. Proper Watering
How and when you water is vital to saving water and increasing proper absorption. Watering in the early morning when temperatures are cooler or at night will improve efficiency by cutting down on water lost to evaporation. Most grass types should not be watered more than every three days. A few tips to maximizing water usage:
- Make sure your sprinklers are positioned so they don’t waste water spraying walkways, driveways or sidewalks.
- If one area needs more water, water it by hand instead of increasing the water on the entire area.
- Cut down water by a minimum of 30% in shady areas
- If you notice water runoff, then water more often for less time
- Replace broken sprinklers right away
- Check for signs you are under watering: Hard soil you can’t push a screwdriver through, soil that is warm to the touch after the sun has gone down
- Check for signs you are overwatering and need to cut back: soft, mushy soil or consistent water puddles
Tough and compact soil will prevent water from being absorbed efficiently by the roots and cause water to run off or puddle, wasting it even more. By core aerating, which means plugs of earth are pulled out of the ground so water can seep deep into it, you will vastly improve root growth and maximize water efficiency. Spring is an ideal time to aerate when the grass is growing steadily. For best results, aerate after watering or rain so the ground is softer. A manual machine is sufficient for a small lawn. If you have a large lawn you may want to rent a mechanical machine.
5. Cut down lawn size
You can have your cake and eat it too, by decreasing the amount of your yard allotted to grass. Keep enough grass to enjoy and to give you the look you want but switch some of your grass for a rock and cacti garden or other desert plants and shrubs, cutting down on the high water usage a lawn requires. You don’t have to give up your lawn, but by cutting down the size just a bit you can save water, effort, and time.
Many people are unaware of the steps to properly care for their Las Vegas Valley lawn. But as the saying goes, “Knowing is half the battle.” Now all you have to do is implement the tips above and watch your lawn become healthier and more attractive. Our landscape professionals at Cacti Landscapes are happy to answer questions about how to improve your lawn and are available to help get your lawn in its best shape, and keep it that way, all year long.