Turfgrass Use and Water Conservation

By Fender, Douglas H. | Landscape & Irrigation, June 2001 | Go to article overview

Turfgrass Use and Water Conservation


Fender, Douglas H., Landscape & Irrigation


In developed nations, we rarely feel the effects of the global water shortage. Local or state governments may urge us to use less water on our lawns in the summer, but that is usually as far as the inconvenience goes. But don't be fooled: the water shortage is real.

Ninety-seven percent of the world's water lies in oceans and seas, and two percent is locked up as glacial ice, leaving only one percent available for human use. Increasing population and water use have boosted water demand remarkably, while the availability of that one percent of usable water is reduced by pollution from industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential sources. The Futurist magazine issued this forecast in 1999: "Water scarcity could threaten one billion people by 2025."

Among other causes of water shortages:

* Development often outpaces infrastructure. Local water supply, treatment capacity or quantity can't keep up with the demands of new homes and commercial structures.

* Environmental concerns, regulations or legal decisions can restrict water availability.

* Drought and insufficient snowfall accumulation prevent replenishment of reservoirs.

* Flooding contaminates water supplies.

* Mechanical or structural shortcomings include leakage through broken pipes, which (in older water systems) can cause the loss of 50 percent or more of treated water. Water suppliers accept "unaccounted" losses of 10 to 15 percent of all treated water.

The Xeriscape movement

These examples underscore the importance of responsible water use by everyone concerned with plants and irrigation systems. Xeriscape, a concept developed in 1981, is quality landscaping that conserves water and protects the environment. Applicable worldwide, Xeriscape principles promote quality design that balances the lawn area, shrub and flower plantings and the hardscape. Xeriscape's mission is to convert professional and amateur landscape managers to believe in and practice proper water management, which provides the greatest opportunity for landscape water conservation. Properly applied, Xeriscape justifies the slogan, "Plants and irrigation systems don't waste water, people do."

Xeriscape's principles are planning and design, soil improvement, appropriate plant selection, efficient irrigation, mulching, appropriate maintenance and the use of practical turf areas. The last principle is the one receiving most of the attention.

Xeriscape's original idea about turfgrass was "limited turf use." Today's Xeriscape movement incorporates a more holistic approach, which recognizes that the human factor and landscape water management affect water consumption more than the type of plants used. Xeriscape focuses on turfgrass because of the tremendous potential for irrigation abuse in the name of maintaining green turfgrass.

In contrast to the initial Xeriscape perspective on turfgrass, Dr. J.B. Beard and Dr. R.L. Green conducted a study, "The Role of Turfgrasses in Environmental Protection and Their Benefits to Humans," published in the Journal of Environmental Quality. It provides strong evidence of turfgrass benefits.

In addressing water conservation, Beard and Green wrote:

"Trees and shrubs can use more water than turfgrass. Drought-resistant plants are not necessarily low water users. Adjacent trees and shrubs reap benefits of turfgrass watering. Turfgrass's brown color during drought periods is entirely normal. Low water-use turfgrasses can conserve water."

Conserving water

Just as Xeriscape principles can develop landscapes that conserve water using a variety of plants, they can also apply to the use of turfgrass alone. Some strategies include the following:

* Prepare soils for turf areas as carefully as any other planting area to use all available moisture, promoting the plant's vigor and water-use efficiency.

* In landscape zones, place turf species based on water requirements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Turfgrass Use and Water Conservation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.