Why Is the Grass So Tall?

You may have noticed that the Landscaping Services Department has been cutting the turf at a taller height recently. This is intentional and a direct response to the drought as well as water saving measures adopted by the mutual boards. Both United and Third boards have adopted resolutions to reduce irrigation water use by 15% in response to Governor Newsom’s and EL Toro Water District’s requests for voluntary reduction of water use by the same percentage in response to the ongoing drought. The Landscaping Services Department is accomplishing this by reducing turf watering frequency from three to two times per week.

Longer grass helps reduce irrigation requirements and it shades the soil, reducing moisture evaporation while simultaneously cooling the crowns of the grass, which is vital during sunshine-intensive summer months. This added shade helps preserve moisture, preventing the soil from drying out quickly and the root system from overheating. Soil that retains moisture more effectively also encourages deeper root systems to develop. Without heat stress or an extreme water shortage, roots can thrive and grow much deeper than they otherwise would. Root growth is more important than top growth—grass with deep roots is normally much healthier and stronger.

Deep roots help produce a more-attractive lawn in drought conditions and ensure turf is far more drought resistant. This is because deep roots can access moisture that shallower roots wouldn’t reach.

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