December 20, 2007

With the hustle and bustle of the season, there’s one thing residents can skip on their “to do” list watering their lawns.

Faced with an increasingly severe drought, the Southwest Florida Water Management District is encouraging residents who irrigate their lawns to “skip a week” during the cooler months to save water.

“Over-watering makes your lawn less drought tolerant and can encourage disease and pests,” said Sylvia Durell, Florida-friendly landscaping project manager. “By gradually reducing the water you use for irrigation, you will actually be giving your lawn a gift because using less water will encourage deeper grass and plant roots, getting them ready for the drier season to come.”

Other gift-giving ideas for your lawn include:

  • Checking your irrigation system frequently to ensure you are watering the grass or shrubs, not paved areas.
  • Mowing your lawn high to encourage grass roots to grow deeper and hold moisture longer.
  • Measuring grass from the soil to the top of the grass blade to be sure you are cutting at the right height. The ideal height for St. Augustine and Bahia grass is 3 to 4 inches. The ideal height for Bermuda grass is 1 to 2 inches.

Homeowners who follow these tips can determine when their grass needs water. Lawns need water when:

  • Grass blades are folded in half
  • Grass blades are blue-gray
  • A footprint remains on the lawn

Due to below-normal rainfall and groundwater conditions, all 16 counties within the District are under one-day-per-week lawn watering restrictions through June 30, 2008.

The District as well as public water suppliers are concerned about meeting demands during the upcoming dry season, which could set new historic record lows. Skipping a week of irrigation will help conserve potable water, which could be used for public supply.

Please visit the District’s drought page at for more information about water restrictions, Florida-friendly landscaping and other ways to conserve water. Questions about water restrictions can also be answered by calling 1-800-848-0499 or 1-800-423-1476, extension 4498, during normal business hours.

Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

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