Lawns - Watering a Real Grass Lawn in the Med

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Lawns - Watering a Real Grass Lawn in the Med
« on: June 24, 2013, 02:17:49 PM »
Wherever you live in the Mediterranean the subject and cost of water keeps cropping
With the apparent shortage and cost of the stuff, it’s quite amazing how many private
villas actually have swimming pools and lush green lawns.
However this article is for those who wish to save water and have a green lawn.

In this article, I am going to dispel the myths, the doom and the gloom about how much
water it takes to have a lovely green lawn here in the Med.

So lets get down to it with some basics…
1) English Grass: Don’t try to grow English type (cool season) grass. You will need to
water it twice a day just to keep it alive. So unless you have an unlimited budget
(and even then it may not work for you) forget English grass.
2) Warm season grass: Choose a suitable type of warm season grass. There are
lots of them and some are really fine and look just like English grass. This choice
alone will probably move the decimal point on your water bill one place to the
3) Mowing height: If you are cutting your lawn at 1” height – double it to 2” – I
guarantee you will notice the difference. You will see a healthier lawn and an
even healthier water bill. You see grass cut at 2” instead of 1” needs less water,
less fertiliser and less weed killer!!
4) The Cost of an English Lawn: I have done some calculations on watering English
grass twice a day, 7 days a week for the duration of the hot season. Its
frightening and costs thousands in water bills. In fact it’s so costly that you can
think of a number and put three noughts on the end of it.
5) The Watering Cost of Warm Season Grass: Depending on which type of grass
you choose, the costs will vary, but as a guide here are some more hard facts.
a) If you don’t water English Grass it goes brown and dies. But if you don’t
water warm season grass it changes colour slightly and waits for you to
water it – IT DOES NOT DIE.
b) When you water your lawn, 1cu Meter of water will be sufficient for
about 50M2 of lawn.
c) You only need to water when the grass begins to change colour. On
average that’s around 3 times per month. So to maintain a lawn of 100M2
you will need around 6cu Meters of water per month.

Now lets put that 6cu Meters of water into context.
If you have a normal swimming pool and your pool cleaner backwashes it once a week for
1 minute, you are flushing away around 1.6 cu meters of water per month. I measured the
rate of discharge from my pool and measured it at around 100 litre every 15 seconds.
But you can substitute your own figures.

Washing up water and water from dishwashers and washing machines (the rinse cycle is
the worst) represents 400 – 500 litres of water per wash. Say this is one wash per week
(again substitute your figures) and that’s another 1.6 – 2.0 cu meters per month.

And if you have guttering on your house, a soak away on your patio and some sort water
deposit there is no limit. Because when it rains here in the Med I have known it to
deposit 4 – 6 inches of water in a few hours. Collect this water and you need never worry
about the cost of watering your lawn.

So you can see that it is easily possible to have a lovely green lawn without spending a
penny on clean water. And the more water you waste the bigger lawn you can have!!

Fascinating!! Its now 8th July and I have watched with great interest on the views and replies of this article.
I note with interest that the recent "Little Pond Article" has now overtaken the views on this article in a few days.
Italy, Cyprus, Greece France Spain the number of views on the article speak volumes.
Thanks to the people that did read my water conservation article.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 12:40:04 PM by greengrass »


John J

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Re: Lawns - Watering a Real Grass Lawn in the Med
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 04:19:04 PM »
Unfortunately, here in Cyprus the question of water use does not solely revolve around the financial aspect, can you afford it or not? Being an island we are totally dependent upon what falls out of the sky each winter, as rain or snow, to replenish the dams. In bad years the dams get so badly depleted that the Water Board are reduced to squeezing whatever they can out of the mud in the bottom. Water rationing comes into effect, the severity differing in different areas. For example we in the south generally suffer something like 24hrs on/ 24hrs off, while the capital (Nicosia) frequently has to exist on 24hrs on/48hrs off. The underground aquifers that took millions, if not billions, of years to fill up have been so badly overused in the last 100 years that the majority are now saline and/or polluted by pesticide and fertiliser run-off. So, when there is no water to be had the size of one's bank account is irrelevant. The fact that so many people still insist on having swimming pools is just a sad reflection on many human's idea of priorities.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

David Bracey

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Re: Lawns - Watering a Real Grass Lawn in the Med
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 06:27:13 PM »
Greengrass, please share your secrets with us. What warm season grasses are you refering to.... Cynodon, if so what clone, Eremochloa, Zoysia, Lolium or what.  There are many in the Mediterranean basin who would love to know.

One of the best things about our Forum is the free exchange of knowledge and experience .
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.