Green Doesn’t Always Mean More Water

The return of Pinehurst #2 to its original design, as discussed in Greening the Golf Course, was not only a way to embrace the history of the course. It was also a bold step into the future. That’s because the water-conserving redesign addresses one of the greatest challenges facing the sport: water.

Water is a precious and scarce resource. In the future, golf courses simply can’t use as much water as they do now.

The reality is that homeowners across the country can all learn from what Pinehurst has done. Because whether it is right now in certain parts of the country or 20 years from now everywhere, water is too precious to simply be used to water a yard.

So, here are some tips from the folks who worked on the Pinehurst redesign that can be applied to yards across the country.

  1. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local diseases. When planting on a slope, use plants that will retain water and reduce runoff.
  2. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch can also be used as ground cover in areas that are too shady or where the soil is too poor to grow grass.
  3. Water when the lawn needs it. Most lawns only require about 1” of water per week. Letting the grass grow longer (about 3”) will also help retain moisture. Here’s a test to see if your lawn needs water: If the grass springs back up after you step on it, the lawn does not need to be watered. If the grass stays flat, then the lawn is ready for watering. 
  4. Use rain barrels. Capturing rain runoff from the roof of your house is an efficient way to have water for plants.

In addition to saving money on your utility bill, effective watering will also reduce the use of a precious resource as well as prevent water pollution in streams, rivers, lakes and local watersheds. Now that is smart lawn care!

- Frank Graff

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!

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