WATERWISE LAWN GUIDE
Over a period of three Perth summers research at the University of Western Australia proved that a healthy green lawn can be maintained by selecting from a range of warm season, deep-rooted lawn grasses more suited to our hot summer environment.
Choice of Variety
COUCH, BUFFALO, ZOYSIA, QUEENSLAND BLUE, SALTENE and KIKUYU need low amounts of water when installed and maintained correctly, have excellent heat tolerance and high drought tolerance;
- RYEGRASS requires high water use, has poor heat tolerance and low drought tolerance; and,
- TALL FESCUE also requires high water use, has fair heat tolerance and average drought tolerance.
- Water early in the morning as less heat and wind reduce loss of water to evaporation. A standard drink of 10mm is recommended and any more is wasted.
- Water in the early morning before 9 am or evening after 6 pm. This applies to both scheme water users and garden bore owners.
- Less wind and heat reduces the stress on the plant and allows for greater penetration and less run-off or evaporation. Water for deep penetration but not past the root zone. Interrupt watering if puddles occur and allow the water to penetrate the soil before restarting. Use some ice cream containers to measure how much water your sprinklers deliver. 10ml is a good soak for most lawns and any more will be wasted. Programme reticulation controllers to provide the correct quantity and timing of reticulation. Review adjustment during Summer. Do not just set and forget. Advice may be obtained from the Irrigation Association on 9474 9089.
- Aerate and verticut turf. Removal of thatch (spongy brown section of grass below the green leaf) by verticutting and aerating compacted lawns will assist in better penetration of water and nutrients. This should be done in Spring and advice is available from the Lawn Mowing Contractors Association on 9316 3508.
- Test your soil with a probe or screwdriver to see how deep the water has penetrated. If there are dry patches check your sprinkler output.
- Treat your lawn with a wetting agent to improve water penetration and eliminate dry patch. Your local TGAWA Member Turf Farm can guide you through the range of suitable products.
- Fertilise frequently but very lightly with a good environmentally friendly lawn floor or slow release lawn food. Your local garden centre can advice you on the products available. Too much fertiliser is wasteful and produces too lush a leaf whereas a frequent light application keeps the lawn healthy and improves its tolerance to limited water application.
- Keep mower blades sharp as dull blades damage the plant and increase moisture loss.
In summary it is possible for people to still maintain their lawns with proper responsible management of water.
(The Water Corporation grants an exemption from water restrictions for 8 weeks for new lawns and people need to call Water Corporation on 131039 to register for the exemption).
To find our more click here to visit the water corporation website