Limited spring runoff could impact your gardens and lawns this summer

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – With the weather warming up, many residents in Utah are preparing their gardens and lawns for the summer months. But as many of us know, we are in the worst drought which has led to poor snowpack and even poorer spring runoff.

The runoff we normally see during this time of year is much lower than usual. “Our snowpack was only about 81% and then as it started to melt, it went into those dry soils. So our streams around the state are very, very low. This stream right here that we’re by, Little Cottonwood Creek, is only flowing at about 37 cubic feet per second and it would typically be at about 98 cubic feet per second this time of year,” says Laura Haskell, drought coordinator for the Division of Water Resources.

The lack of spring runoff has really affected our waterways, and specifically our reservoirs. The lower water levels are not able to refill the reservoirs to their normal capacities as we approach our dry season.

This will definitely impact our lawns and gardens during some of the hottest months of the year when watering is normally needed.

Luckily, there are ways we can still have a great lawn or garden even during a drought, as Guy Banner, a horticulturalist for the water conservation garden with Red Butte Gardens, tells us.

“So, we talk about up here using different techniques, so changing out the kid of irrigation you have to drip irrigation or different types of nozzle heads for sprinkler systems. But even without doing that, there are some techniques for using less water in your yard that help basically helps your pants to adapt better to drought by making them work a little harder by growing their roots a little deeper, so you’ll water less frequently.”

Other tips that can help you have a more water friendly garden or lawn are planting native species better suited for Utah’s climate, strategically planning your garden and lawn for maximized water usage, and if you can, planting turf substitutes.

But what can you do if you do not want to replace your lawn? Well, you are in luck, as there is a way to help make your lawn more drought resistant.

Banner says, “Even with the existing grass you have changing how you water your grass, by giving it a nice deep water a couple times a week, so you don’t have to water your grass every day.”

This then brings up the question, how frequently should I water my lawn?

“We have a weekly lawn watering guide that we put a lot of work into. We look at evaporation, we look at how much precipitation has fallen, how hot it is, all these different things and we come out and say, ‘if you’re in this county we recommend this many waterings per week.’ We take all of the guess work out of it for you and make it really easy,” answers Haskell.

Of course these tips only scratch the surface of the number of things you could do to conserve more water in your garden and lawn. Also, you can tailor these tips and guides to best suit what you have or plan to have in your yard.

For more information and tips on gardening, click here.

To see what the weekly watering guide looks like for your county, click here.

And as always, you can see what the weather looks like on the day you decide to be out in the yard with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast here.

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