Conserving water at all times is environmentally responsible. However, it is imperative when drought strikes. Much of North Dakota is currently in a drought situation. Central and western North Dakota is currently in the worst states of drought, with the US drought monitor classifying those as D4 and D5, imminent fires, and poor plant growth. Early in the summer, the drought was evident with the number of fires caused by cigarettes being thrown or farmers starting accidental fires in their fields. While we have gotten small amounts of rain recently, we are not out of drought concern. What does this mean for my yard? To conserve water in times of drought, practice the following tips:
· Water your lawn only when necessary and when it is cooler – this prevents evaporation.
· If there is a rain event, there is no need to water the lawn for up to two weeks.
· Walk out onto your lawn; if the grass springs back where you have walked, your lawn does not need water.
· Make sure that you are getting the most out of your sprinklers; adjust the heads so that they are only hitting your lawn, not the street or sidewalk.
· It is ok to let your lawn go to favor the trees and bushes in your yard in severe drought.
· To help in locations where drought is common, planting native grasses and drought-tolerant plants will prevent the need for excess watering.
· Cut grass longer in times of drought – longer grass shades your soil and traps more moisture.
· Hand water your lawn; hand watering is often more efficient than a sprinkler system.
· Get a rain barrel – rain barrels can be hooked directly to your gutter system and can easily be used to water your plants.