Monday, July 23, 2007

Lawn in a Time of Drought

The mid Atlantic is suffering through a drought, again. My carbon foot print due to mowing is effectively reduced to zero with nothing to mow. I asked my colleague, Larry Hurley to compute some water figures in order to keep me from turning on sprinklers to water my assorted invasive and non native grasses, forbes and herbaceous perennials which constitute the pasture I fondly call a lawn.

One cubic foot of water contains 7.48 gallons of water. I got the above from the department of energy. One cubic foot of water is the same as 12 square feet of water 1 inch deep, just like mulch. 1/12 of 7.48 gallons is .6233 gallons per square foot, one inch deep.
5,000 square feet takes 3,117 gallons of water.
Watering an acre (43,560 square feet) lawn one inch week for 12 weeks takes 325,851 gallons.

I think I will wait for the rains of autumn. I am struggling with the enormity of this number; I have five acres of clover, wild garlic, violets, creeping charlie, Japanese stilt grass, garlic mustard, multi flora rose, dandelions, Bermuda grass, crab grass, plantains, two or three tall fescue clumps in between the more aggressive invasive species. All of which are currently dormant or dead. Did I mention the nut sedge which is dragging? The question is why would anyone put 27,154.25 gallons of water per acre on non native invasive species, which almost certainly will be back fully green and on the move right after the first hurricane?

Of course I freely admit that right now I seem to live in the middle of a dust bowl and that perhaps I should be trying to find native mid Atlantic grasses which could serve as turf. Now just when I need them the most to hold the soil and prevent erosion, must common invasive species are nowhere to be seen.

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