If you haven’t killed your lawn yet

Water-conservation tips for those who haven’t xeriscaped

If you’ve still got a lawn, learn the water-conservation rules, buddy.

If you’ve still got a lawn, learn the water-conservation rules, buddy.

Not a fan of replacing the square patch of grass also known as your lawn with native bunch grass or shrubs this summer? Well, there are ways of being more water-conscious. Even the most avid hand-watering homeowner can cut back on water use and still feed lawns properly. Because, as the peak watering season begins and summer’s unforgiving heat finally strikes, many Sacramento lawn lovers will likely turn on their sprinkler systems and, unknowingly, overwater their lawns.

Per household, outdoor watering can make up 65 percent of overall water use, this according to Jessica Hess, with the city of Sacramento Department of Utilities. She says that by shortening the typical watering cycle by even just one or two minutes per station can save hundreds of gallons a month, even for the hand-watering residents, too.

“Sacramento is a very fortunate city,” Hess explained. The city has excellent water rights and is located between two rivers. “However, we still have to be conservative with our water supply.”

The state of California, for instance, is requiring that residents reduce their water use by 20 percent by the year 2020. To accomplish this, Hess says that residents and business owners should simply follow the city’s watering-schedule ordinance.

Specifically: Odd-numbered addresses are assigned to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; even-numbered addresses on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Everyone is encouraged to water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to prevent the least amount of evaporation possible.

And Mondays are a no-no when it comes to watering. Take a day off and let the reservoirs replenish; don’t be a water glutton. And remind your neighbors how things work.

Capitol Nursery president Chuck Armstrong is a fan of shrubs and native grass as a natural means of outdoor water conservation, but he’s also in favor of automatic sprinkler systems and setting timers just right in order to save water.

“Adjust to the temperature and the weather,” he recommended. “Fifteen minutes during spring, 30 minutes in the summer. You could water perfectly with a hose if you took the time. But chances are … you’re going to be throwing out more water than needed.”

Website Be Water Smart shares some other tips for conserving outdoor water use, including checking irrigation systems monthly for leaks or misdirected sprinkler heads.

Sacramento Regional Water Authority’s Christine Kohn recommends looking into low-water-use trees and plants that can easily reduce water consumption. She also explains that, during the irrigation season of April through October, almost 100 gallons of water per person per day could collectively be saved if outdoor water was used efficiently, beginning even with soil.

Soil acts as a sponge, holding in moisture, depending on the volume of water used. The city’s Hess notes that matching your irrigation system to the type of soil beneath your lawn will greatly decrease the amount of runoff per household.

And for all curious residents concerned about the efficiency of their current home irrigation systems, don’t hesitate to dial the no-cost, water-wise hotline. By dialing 311 and setting an appointment, the city will send out a water-conservation specialist to your property who will determine ways to help conserve water by checking your irrigation schedule, determining soil type, adjusting sprinkler direction and even providing basic tips and tools.

Sure, it was raining last week. But this isn’t Waterworld. Take it straight from the experts and think of these tips next time your lawn needs to be fed.