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  #1  
Old 07-10-2012, 11:55 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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The movement to reduce Turf is on.

I posted elsewhere that we as professionals need to take a closer look at how we manage turf. I mentioned a movement to reduce the use of turf in landscape.
We all come here to learn about the industry, share ideas and support each other. We debate and toss around some friendly jabs. However the truth is, we need to be aware of what is happening in our industry.

Linked in a white paper by the EPA explaining their position and why they are proposing less turf. While this is now being shown as a voluntary program, these are soon adopted into more restrictive legislation. There are many examples so please do not say it will not happen. The EPA often starts off with public education and outreach programs that sooner or later gain traction as a mandate.

We as professionals need to be aware of these trends, these suggestions and do a better job of self-regulating and educating the general public ( our clients)

Here are a few excerpts from the white paper.

Quote:
research suggests that groundcover, shrubs, and trees can maintain an acceptable appearance at lower levels of water application than many common turfgrasses.
Quote:
Research suggests that turfgrass receives the highest percentage of the residential irrigation water in traditional landscaping.
Quote:
The turfgrass allowance option in the WaterSense specification is consistent with other national and regional green building programs and local water-efficiency programs. Nationally, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes program awards points for the reduction of conventional turfgrass in the landscape. Similarly, the National Association on Homes Builders’ National Green Building Standard and Green Building Guidelines award points for limited turfgrass. Additionally, the Sustainable Sites Initiative recommends the use low-water-demand vegetation and notes that if turfgrass is installed, it should be regionally appropriate and minimize post-establishment requirements for irrigation

Quote:
While southern and arid regions of the United States have suitable climates for warm season turfgrass, it is common to see plantings of cool season varieties. Unfortunately, this leads to water requirements that are unsustainable for these regions. In addition, homeowners tend to overwater turfgrasses, often by overwatering the entire lawn to avoid a few dry spots. Overwatering can cause numerous problems for turfgrass health, including a shallow root system; increased disease, weeds, or insect infestation; reduced drought tolerance; increased thatch and excessive growth; and reduced tolerance to other stresses such as shade and soil problems.

Quote:
The report also showed that turfgrass reductions used 19 to 33 percent less water than traditional turfgrass landscapes.42 The author noted that the landscape plants that replaced turfgrass were not necessarily low-water-using.
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In many parts of the country, utilities face peak demand during the growing season, due to increased irrigation water use. Often, new infrastructure is required to meet peak demand. Reducing outdoor water use decreases the peak in summer months, potentially saving utility infrastructure costs.

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Landscapes that combine a mixture of plants with a functional area of turfgrass achieve the same, if not greater, benefits than landscapes dominated by turfgrass. Many landscape plants such as groundcover and native grasses are effective at reducing runoff from the site. Common landscape plants such as trees and shrubs can be more effective than turfgrass at reducing site temperature, controlling erosion, and trapping pollutants from stormwater
http://www.epa.gov/watersense/docs/h...-report508.pdf

It is hard to argue with much of this, I am just saying that the more responsible we are in watering, fertilizing and using herbicides and understanding the holistic role of landscape including it's social function and the environment the better off our trades will be in the long run.

Join trade association, stay informed. Make a goal to learn something new each month. Include the cost of education, trade shows, dues and such in your business plan and charge accordingly.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2012, 06:45 PM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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This many views and no comments? Wow! This is a huge statement impacting our industry.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2012, 06:59 PM
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cgaengineer cgaengineer is offline
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More regulation...it's already started around here Deukster...water restrictions, bans and fines.

The best thing for cities to do is be pro-active and add a second line for reuse water when installing any new water lines and upgrade areas with large amount of irrigation to reuse lines. I hate buying water, but I especially hate buying drinking water to water my lawn...only to keep it green until the total ban sets in around late July and August.
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2012, 07:06 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is online now
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In my area, turf can use less water than ornamentals. Bermuda or zoysia can be maintained at 60% of ET replaced vs needing to replace 100% of ET or more if it is shrubs with ground cover. I looked up the ET info for my city and it is 100 inches per year with a 365 day growing season. There is usually 20 inches or less of rain per year as well. To truly cut water use, the landscape would have to be mostly rocks.

I invite a researcher to come and test sites I maintain for water usage, nutrient losses and pesticide losses. Compare that to a conventionally irrigated and treated site. The sites that are not irrigated and simply mowed weeds or irrigated to keep green without fertilization do not count.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:18 PM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgaengineer View Post
More regulation...it's already started around here Deukster...water restrictions, bans and fines.

The best thing for cities to do is be pro-active and add a second line for reuse water when installing any new water lines and upgrade areas with large amount of irrigation to reuse lines.
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Exactly, it is happening and will continue. These re-use lines are interesting but that falls into the new infrastructure complaint. I can see commercial developers and even planned developments adding storm water detention ponds and even gray water irrigation in the plans. No way on retrofitting urban areas. I fear losing home value soon because of energy and water saving features not in my hood or home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
In my area, turf can use less water than ornamentals. Bermuda or zoysia can be maintained at 60% of ET replaced vs needing to replace 100% of ET or more if it is shrubs with ground cover. I looked up the ET info for my city and it is 100 inches per year with a 365 day growing season. There is usually 20 inches or less of rain per year as well. To truly cut water use, the landscape would have to be mostly rocks.

I invite a researcher to come and test sites I maintain for water usage, nutrient losses and pesticide losses. Compare that to a conventionally irrigated and treated site. The sites that are not irrigated and simply mowed weeds or irrigated to keep green without fertilization do not count.
Bottom line, if they can install rocks with select plantings they will. It is not the true water requirements as much as the HO habits. See the 3rd quotes from the bottom...

Quote:
The report also showed that turfgrass reductions used 19 to 33 percent less water than traditional turfgrass landscapes.42 The author noted that the landscape plants that replaced turfgrass were not necessarily low-water-using.
We have to be more proactive...

Thanks for your post gentlemen. I am sure professionals like yourself will be find by staying ahead of the curve. We just need to be aware and step it up a notch.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2012, 07:55 PM
greendoctor greendoctor is online now
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Reductions in water use may hold true if discussing cool season turf in hot areas, but it does not necessarily translate to using warm season turf. Back in the 1990s through 2000s there was watering restrictions here. The lawns did fine on the limitations of every other day watering. The landscaped areas had problems.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:55 PM
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cgaengineer cgaengineer is offline
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Some neighborhoods in remote areas have mini batch sewer treatment plants...have to do something with that waste water. Underground detention is already being used here but nobody thinks to use the water to irrigate...instead it acts as a large septic system.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:13 PM
Skipster Skipster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duekster View Post
Join trade association, stay informed. Make a goal to learn something new each month. Include the cost of education, trade shows, dues and such in your business plan and charge accordingly.
Speaking of staying informed, the EPA's rule of <40% turf area was removed in 2011.

http://www.irrigation.org/News/Press...g_Program.aspx
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2012, 05:21 PM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipster View Post
Speaking of staying informed, the EPA's rule of <40% turf area was removed in 2011.

http://www.irrigation.org/News/Press...g_Program.aspx
What I said still stands Skip, please read my orginal post again.


Quote:
Option 2, the turfgrass limitation retained in the final specification, was based on an attempt to harmonize WaterSense with other codes and green building programs. This was done in response to comments received from concerned stakeholders who believed that the Water Budget Tool, in its existing spreadsheet form, was too complicated for many users and that asimpler, straight-forward alternative was needed. WaterSense retained the option, but explained in its response to comments that, as use of the Water Budget Tool became more widespread, the program would revisit the on-going need for the option in future versions of the specification.
http://www.epa.gov/watersense/docs/N...-final_508.pdf
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2012, 08:24 PM
recycledsole recycledsole is offline
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thank you for posting this. 1/3 of all water used on the east coast of united states is for watering lawns. this is a huge waste from a local, or global environmental perspective. it is good to reduce all amounts of turf. grow food in your yard, reduce your bills, eat fresher! grow pollinator- attracting- plants in your yard, increase the fertility of the ecosystem. grow shrubs / bushes in your yard, attract wildlife. Put a pond in, attract birds, frogs, etc... you can create a microclimate on just a 1/4 acre.
we have herons come here, and frogs come to our pond every year. Not to mention all those plants reduce c02 in the air.

we respect all LCOs initiative to earn a living. at times we all must evolve. for example businesses, newspapers, etc... switched from physical to on-line with the development of the internet. even the military is embracing solar power over gas/ deseil/ coal, etc... our ancestors evolved from wagons, to cars, to electric powered cars. (im not using battery powered/ electric powered tools as example since most are lacking in quality and stamina)
might as well prepare for the future.

Last edited by recycledsole; 09-04-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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