Low Water Lawns

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 14, 2019)

I dread spring because, along with the beautiful flowers in bloom and the birds chirping merrily in the new tree growth, there's also the onslaught of grass to mow. I live in an area of the United States where the grass grows tall and abundantly, to the point that I cannot just mow on weekends in the spring. In fact, if I only mow on weekends, the lawn mower chugs to a halt because the mowed grass clogs and binds underneath the mowing deck, stopping the blade from twirling.

Each spring I have to force myself to mow the grass two nights each week after working all day long, and then again on the weekend. If I didn't rent the house in which I live, I swear that I would replace the lawn with low water, no-mow grass. I've contemplated buying a goat to eat the grass, but I don't think the homeowner's association would allow that.

Conversely, mid-summer finds my lawn dry and fairly scorched by the sun, leaving bald spots in the turf in exposed areas, while shady areas continue to grow deep grass. If I don't mow the entire lawn, the tall grass continues to grow, upsetting the homeowner's association, demonstrating their unhappiness with calls of "unsightly grass" to my landlord.

The answer to this entire dilemma is to replace the existing lawn with low water, no mow grasses, since they are very low maintenance, and only require lowing about twice annually. If you'd like to replace your lawn with low-mow, low water grass, follow these guidelines to choose the type of grass that might be appropriate for your local growing environment:

  • If you live in a hot, humid, almost tropical area such as Florida, then choose zoysia grass. Withstanding temperatures up to 100 degrees, zoysia remains green even during droughts, and only requires watering once a week.
  • Another hardy grass is Bermuda grass. It can tolerate temperatures up to 110 degrees, and is drought-resistant.
  • Touted as a no-mow grass, Pacific sod is a fine fescue that requires mowing only twice each year. Although the color fades a bit in dry seasons, it regains its color when temperatures decrease. Pacific sod is ideal for hard to water areas.
  • Extremely drought and heat tolerant, buffalo grass grows best in full sun with little water. Some gardeners report that buffalo grass is susceptible to weed growth, however.

Visit your local extension office, or search online or in your library for low water grasses, and then talk with qualified staff at your local garden or nursery center to determine what grass suits your needs and your local environment.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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