Sioux Falls, SD
Water rates are on their way up in the city of Sioux Falls over the next few years. But there are ways to have a green lawn and not an outrageous water bill. Experts say it all starts with mowing.
The hum of lawnmowers set the scene for a Sioux Falls summer. But mowing too much can actually cause your water bill to go up.
"Whenever you cut anything, whether it's a grass plant, a shrub plant or a tree plant, it all initiates more growth. So more growth requires more energy, which requires more water and fertilizer," Erik Helland of Landscape Garden Centers said.
Helland advises keeping your grass four to five inches long.
"If you keep that grass taller, it shades itself. It needs less water, fertilizer, all of those types of things. Then what you have is a lawn that is self-sustaining and kind of hanging out and taking care of itself, “Helland said.
If we're heading into a drought period, mow every other week. And there's a way to tell if you need to water more often.
"A good way of telling that is when you walk through your lawn, if you can see your tracks, see a different color, almost gray. That's when your grass is a little stressed. That's a good way of knowing when you need to put more water down," Helland said.
When it comes to your sprinkler system, you'll get water to the root of plants by watering each zone for a few minutes, several times.
"That's called the cycle-soak method, which is highly recommended especially in our areas because our soils are so heavy. When you throw water down, it takes a while to penetrate," Helland said.
But for now, as long as we're getting timely soakers, you can leave them off altogether.
"Just as the ground is getting to be brown, all of a sudden then we get some rain. We've been very fortunate on that end," Helland said.
Another way to get the water into the roots of your grass so you can water less often is by aerating your lawn.
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