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Zoysia Grass Uses Less Water And Can Cut Your Lawn Watering Bills In Half

(HIT) - Americans love their lawns. From Maine to California and everywhere in between, it seems that every suburbanite’s dream is to have his or her home surrounded by a sea of lush, emerald-green lawn.

According to The Lawn Institute, an industry association that promotes turfgrass, 93% of homeowners rank green space important, and more than 90% of homeowners feel that having a well-maintained lawn improves property values.

A typical cool-season turfgrass lawn, such as Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass, needs between 35 and 45 inches of precipitation a year to remain a lush, healthy green. Unfortunately, most of the country doesn’t get that much rainfall in any given year, and the vast majority of the Western U.S. never gets that much rain. When Mother Nature doesn’ t provide enough moisture from the sky, homeowners must make up the difference by watering their lawns or using less water with a drought resistant grass variety like zoysia.

To keep our lawns green, we turn on the sprinklers and pull out the hoses and pour on the water. In fact, up to 80 percent of the water used around the home during the summer is for outdoor uses—predominately to irrigate our lawn-dominated landscapes. Unfortunately, we (and our landscapes) are getting progressively thirstier. While the U.S. population has increased 52% during the past 30 years, our water use has increased by 300%.

The combination of increased water demands, increasing water bills and watering restrictions caused by drought has forced many homeowners to rethink their lawns. Instead of paying high water bills and being held hostage by Mother Nature or the local water utility, many homeowners are replacing thirsty bluegrass with water-thrifty zoysia grass.

Why Zoysia?

Zoysia grass is a tough, spreading turfgrass that grows into a permanent, perennial lawn that never needs reseeding. Unlike cool-season turfgrasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that thrives in summer heat. Because it actually prefers warmer weather, zoysia grass doesn’t need gallons and gallons of supplemental water during the summer to keep it green. While Kentucky bluegrass wilts in the summer heat and needs lots of water to stay green, zoysia grass handles the heat with ease. According to the University of Missouri Extension Service, zoysia grass needs 66% less water than perennial ryegrass and 58% less water than Kentucky bluegrass during summer months.

Tips for Reducing Landscape Water Use

  • Water in the early morning to minimize the amount of water lost to evaporation.
  • Don’t water when it’s windy or raining.
  • To minimize runoff, water slowly so all the water can be absorbed.
  • Consider replacing cool-season turfgrass such as Kentucky bluegrass with water-thrifty warm-season grass such as Amazoy zoysia grass (www.zoysiafarms.com).
  • Water less frequently but more deeply. Soak soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
  • Water only when the lawn shows signs of stress. If the grass springs back from your footsteps, it’s not yet water-stressed. But if walking across the lawn leaves visible footprints, it’s time to water.
  • Hand-water dry spots rather than over-watering the entire lawn.
  • Water turf—not pavement.
“Cool season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, require enormous amounts of water to keep green during the peak of summer because they naturally want to go dormant during the hottest summer months,” said Steve Schug, Farm Manager at Zoysia Farm Nurseries in Taneytown, Maryland. “On the other hand, Mother Nature provides all the water we need to grow a healthy crop of zoysia grass. The only time we’ve watered in the past three years has been to hydrate a section of the grass before it’s harvested.”

Zoysia Farm Nurseries ships its Amazoy brand of zoysia grass to homeowners across the country. The company pioneered the sale of zoysia grass plugs via mailorder 50 years ago, and it is still the leading seller of zoysia grass in the country. Although it is erroneously believed that zoysia grass will grow well only in the deep South—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia rank among the top states for both orders and reorders of Amazoy. And because zoysia is one of the most drought-tolerant grasses available that can remain stress free at near-desert rainfall levels, Amazoy customers from Arizona, Utah and throughout the Western U.S. have written glowing testimonials about their zoysia grass lawns.

Unlike other grasses, which are grown from seed or installed as sod, the zoysia grass from Zoysia Farm Nurseries is sold as one-inch-square starter plants called “plugs.” To order, write to Zoysia Farm Nurseries, Dept. 010, 3617 Old Taneytown Rd., Taneytown, MD 21787. Or call 1-410-756-2311 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time or visit the website at www.zoysiafarms.com.

Courtesy: Home Improvement News and Information Center

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