Green lawns

Dear EditorSummer has arrived and temperatures will soar, followed by soaring water bills. Most of us have an image, further refined by companies like Scotts, Monsanto, Ortho, etc. that make up the multi-billion dollar lawn-care industry, of an ideal lawn that is weed-free, beautiful, lush, green in color with trees and shrubs. To maintain this image in our semi-arid (desert) climate requires we spend tens of billions of dollars caring for these lawns. Don't forget the millions of tons of fertilizer and thousands of tons of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides we spread each year; plus, more than 60 percent of our municipal water supply is consumed by water lawns. In addition to all this, don't forget the cost of having our yards cared for by gardeners. Several years ago, Tucson, Ariz., began a very strict, highly successful program to conserve their valuable resource - water. In 1991 regulations required the use of drought-tolerant plants from a published list and limits non-drought tolerant vegetation to small "oasis" areas. Landscaped areas must be designed to take advantage of storm water runoff and the use of water-conserving irrigation systems is required. Last winter we had unusually cool weather combined with heavy rainfall, but soon we'll begin drawing down our big reservoirs: Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and Lake Havasu. It's never too late to install water-saving methods; sooner rather than later. -- Byron Dillon, Downey

********** Published: July 14, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 13