Worth It Without Irrigation?

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Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby TGlode » August 19th, 2017, 8:46 am

Is it worth it to put effort and money into our lawn if watering it is not possible?

We just bought a new house in Massachusetts and have what looks like a northern mix lawn. It is in good shape and since June I have been putting down Milorganite at 2x bag rate every month and mowing high and mulching. I don't expect to have the best lawn on the planet, but I would like it to be presentable. I am willing to water when I seed, but otherwise, for a variety of reasons (cost, time, water bans) I do not want to water the lawn regularly. What expectations can I have if I don't water? I feel like everything I read says deep, infrequent watering is critical and I don't want to spend money and time if there won't be a payoff.

Thanks so much!
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Re: Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby rydaddy » August 19th, 2017, 10:20 am

My take is that it is difficult to have a 'nice' lawn without irrigation. But the 'nice' part is subjective. Reading between the lines, you might not be happy with your lawn without irrigation. Again, just my opinion. This 'lawn care' thing is about what 'we' want for our 'own' lawns.
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Re: Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby lVlrBoJang1es » August 19th, 2017, 1:11 pm

I'm new to this stuff, but what I've learned over the last year and a half while obsessing over this hobby would lead me to believe that if you monitor mother natures signs, you two can work together with application timings and get some pretty bang-up results even without irrigation.

I've seen some gorgeous lawn pics on here from people that claim to have NOT irrigated - some shots even snapped in the middle of the summer. I speculate that these cases are dependent on a multitude of factors though... If you search around here (and other sites) i'm sure you'll stumble across some encouraging evidence.

It sounds like you know most of this already but the better your soil is, the more resistant to heat stress and other factors that your lawn will become - this is NOT speculation. I think that you CAN have nice soil (to some degree) without irrigation, though it'll probably take you a LOT longer to reach that point than what someone (with the same exact conditions as you) WITH irrigation can achieve in a few seasons.

Based on what you've stated your expectations are, i'd think that your efforts will definitely NOT be wasted. I'd think that you'll just have execute practices with moderation and a bit more carefully.

Possibly consider starting to integrate some really nice drought resistant cultivars into your existing lawn when you DO throw down seed?
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Re: Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby Green » August 19th, 2017, 8:26 pm

Keep in mind that the first year after seeding, regular watering is very important if you don't get enough rain. You can even make that argument to some extent for the first two years.

But watering demands do begin to decrease starting a week or so after germination.

The rest (how successful you are without watering) will depend on your conditions--like weather, micro-climates, soil, cultural practices, and grass types.
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Re: Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby Dchall_San_Antonio » August 21st, 2017, 4:57 pm

How much sun does the yard get? There are some prairie grass alternatives that really can go from rainstorm to rainstorm. They might not look perfectly presentable right before the next rainstorm, but they will recover when it does rain.

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Re: Worth It Without Irrigation?

Postby bernstem » September 3rd, 2017, 10:11 am

You can have a good lawn without irrigation if you have perfect conditions for a good lawn such as perfect soil, the correct type of turf, the right temperatures, rainfall and management. That won't happen every year. Give it a try.
The worst thing that will happen is that you will have a dead lawn with lots of weeds and have to start over with a renovation.

As DCHall comments, you can also look into non-traditional lawns if it doesn't turn out well for what you have. Prairie Grasses and Clover are both options.

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