On Tuesday, July 5th the City of Guelph enacted the Level 2 Red restriction for residential water use. Home lawn watering is under a complete ban under Level 2 Red conditions. A benefit of natural turfgrass lawns as residential ground cover is that it they can be left to go dormant in the summer months and require no water for survival. Other alternative landscapes, such as ornamental gardens, will still require regular irrigation to survive in these hot/dry conditions.
Turfgrasses will green-up and recover from summer dormancy when timely natural rainfall and cooler weather patterns resume. Homeowners should adhere to Guelph's Level 2 Red restriction and let their lawns go brown.
The GTI is exempt from the current lawn watering ban as we use our own reservoir and water source for irrigation, in accordance with all provincial regulations and watershed restrictions. Although we have a continuing ability to irrigate, water conservation measures are in place at the GTI. Citizens of Guelph that drive by the institute on Victoria Rd. will notice that the vast majority of the property is also currently brown and dormant.
GTI recognizes the importance of water conservation. Every summer, GTI voluntarily restricts water use where it is not required and Peter Purvis, Research Superintendent ensures responsible, efficient and judicious application of water for irrigation purposes where water is required.
Very limited areas of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute are still receiving irrigation to prevent dormancy; these areas include active research projects (primarily on our golf green height turf areas and associated areas) and our trial gardens. GTI staff member Erica Gunn noted today that irrigation of the natural turf soccer fields on site, which were irrigated up until last week for playability and recovery, has also ceased to conserve additional water.
Much of the institute’s current research focuses on reducing inputs to maintain sustainable turfgrass systems and examining alternative and ecologically sustainable controls for weeds and pests.
Guelph’s groundwater supply is a limited resource that must be protected and conserved for future use by our community. For 2016's hot and dry summer, we need to rally as a community to reduce water use, embrace the dry conditions, and follow the trend of brown becoming the new green!
This news brief authored and published by John R. Watson, Guelph Turfgrass Institute Communications Assistant
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