Recently, Denver Water sent out a notice encouraging homeowners to “replace some of that water guzzling grass with drought-resistant plants and flowers.” We am concerned that homeowners are not receiving the facts. All plants and flowers are “water guzzling” if too much water is applied. It isn’t the plants or grass that are at fault; it’s people watering more than they need to.
It is clear Denver Water feels that the best thing home owners can do to save water is remove their lawns, and they’re not giving credit for the many benefits of turf grass in an urban environment. On a hot summer day, a lawn will be 30 degrees cooler than asphalt and rock and 15 degrees cooler than bare soil. In hot weather, the front lawns of 8 homes have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning. So your lawn will keep your home cooler, while lowering your energy bill.
Your lawn also improves the air around your home. A 2,500 square foot lawn can absorb enough carbon dioxide and release enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe. Less grass can potentially cut your air quality.
Grass also absorbs noise and makes your home quieter. It filters and slows runoff from your home and improves water quality entering streams and rivers.
Where do you want your kids to play? A rock garden or your lawn?
How much water, from rainfall and sprinkling, does your lawn really need?
Kentucky bluegrass will normally use 24-26 inches of water per growing season to produce a lawn of good to excellent quality with no brown spots.
- Kentucky bluegrass can be grown with only 15-20 inches of water per growing season to produce a lawn of lower, but acceptable quality with some brown spots.
- Kentucky bluegrass can become dormant and survive prolonged periods (1-2 months) without any precipitation or irrigation.
In the urban and suburban areas of Colorado, turf grass plays an important role in cooling our homes, filtering water, and producing oxygen to off-set pollution. Grass doesn’t waste water and educated homeowners will be able to support a healthy lawn while conserving water if they water wisely! Given the many environmental benefits of grass, Denver Water should help educate its customers to conserve and use outdoor water responsibly, rather than tell people to remove their lawns.