Water Wise Lawn in South Africa. Replace your lawn with hardy grass species, ornamental grass, ground cover or paving. In most gardens in South Africa, lawned areas make up a large portion of the garden. Lawn is important for recreational purposes, but in dry areas you can select indigenous, hardier varieties like (Tifwolf) LMG. This is a low maintenance grass requiring less mowing. Or plant Cynodon (Kweek) species and Phyla nodiflora (Matgrass or Carpet Grass). For a water wise lawn, and to save water, you can also reduce the amount of lawn area with hard surfaces or ground cover.
Ornamental Grass and Grass Types:
- Ornamental Grass is a natural choice for Water Wise Gardens because they require little water (if well chosen for the site) and also little maintenance.
- Ornamental Grass need no mowing, are pest and disease free, and need less fertilizer.
- Ornamental Grass accommodates a wide range of soil and climatic conditions.
- There are Grass Types for nearly every environment, and are therefore available for each water zone in the garden.
- Select hardy, indigenous grass species for drier climates.
- Species from the family Gramineae (true grasses) in general will be the most drought tolerant, and will be found in the driest regions.
- Plant Gramineae (true grasses) in fertile, well drained soil in an open, sunny location.
- Bamboos and the grasslike plants in the Carex (sedges) and Juncus (true rushes) genera, need progressively more moisture in the soil.
- The Luzula genus (woodrushes) and Typha is more adaptable, tolerating some drought if established in rich soil under trees.
Tips for a Water Wise Lawn:
- Reduce the mowing height of lawns to decrease the water use rate.
- Frequent cutting of lawn reduces stress (cutting the lawn down by more than one third also causes undue stress).
- Avoid watering of lawns during winter months, until well into the next rainy season.
- Give lawn the lowest priority of any landscape/garden because they are slower to die, recovers easily and are usually less expensive to replace than other vegetation types.
- Use hardy groundcovers rather than lawn in difficult areas, or consider ornamental mulches in very difficult areas (Gazania sp.).
More Tips for Saving Water and Maintaining a Good Lawn:
- Use a screwdriver to test the depth of watering (the screwdriver will penetrate the soil more easily when moist).
- Parking Cars on your lawn tend to compact the lawn.
- Don’t cut the grass below 4 cm in height or more than one third at any time because this reduces root depth, causing stress on the lawn.
- Aerate the lawn in spring or early autumn by pushing a garden fork into the soil (preferably when wet) at a spacing of 25 mm and a depth of 100 mm. There are commercial machines available to do this.
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