It seems like the announcement of restrictions for Colorado Springs Utilities customers has created a bit of a frenzy for our customers. What can I do to help my lawn during drought conditions? Will my lawn die? Can I still plant new sod or seed problem areas? That’s what we’re here for! We are doing our best to keep you all updated and provide the best information possible. We have also been researching the water districts in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas to find out the different schedules and planting requirements. Let’s start with the things you can do to keep your lawn strong-
As I have said before, your lawn can survive within all of these restrictions it will just look different. With that in mind there are a few things that we recommend doing every year, but in conditions like these they are essential to help strengthen your turf and ensure survival.
- Aeration– increases the water absorption capacity of the turf and allows for better air flow to the root system.
- Fertilization Program– This is especially important in drought conditions because the compounds in fertilizer are what naturally come down with rain. The rain pulls these nutrients from the air and supplies it to your lawn. With drought conditions, supplementing these nutrients with a fertilizer program will absolutely strengthen your turf.
- Weed Control Program– If your turf has to fight with weeds for water and nutrients it’s going to struggle. Keeping the turf clear of weeds will ensure the water and fertilizer you apply will help only the grass.
- Irrigation– We recommend evaluating the efficiency of your irrigation system. Every year the irrigation industry comes up with new technology that changes the size and weight of the droplets to reduce evaporation and to help it hit the turf. Also your watering schedule can make a huge difference. Consider dividing the allowed time between the morning and the evening to allow the water to be better absorbed and to reduce runoff. Also, most of these watering districts offer rebates for upgrading your system to include efficient heads, rain sensors, and much more.
- Moisture retention– The use of polymers to retain moisture for a longer period of time.
Here are the districts we have found in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas with their specific restrictions and planting guidelines.
Colorado Springs Utilities– Stage IIb Restrictions
Effective April 1-
- Outdoor landscape watering limited to 2 days a week on designated days.
- Residential Customers: Even numbered addresses on Sundays and Wednesdays. Odd numbered addresses on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- Commercial Customers: Mondays and Fridays
- Customers can water up to 3 hours on designated days.
- Drip irrigation and hand watering are not limited.
- May 1st through October 1st you may not water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Increased rates are effective for usage over 2000 cubic feet of water.
Establishment Permits are required for sod or seed installation
- Cost $50
- Effective for a maximum of 28 days and includes a specific irrigation schedule for that time period.
- A permit will not excuse customers from paying higher rates for the increased usage.
- Soil amendment of at least 4 cubic yards per 1000 square feet of planting area and must be one of the approved amendments.
As a member of the ALCC, we are meeting with CSU on Friday morning and I will provide any new updates at that time.
Manitou Springs: Level 1 Restrictions
- Residential customers are limited to 3 days a week with even numbers on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and odd numbers on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
- Maximum of 2 hours a day only between the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- Hand watering is not restricted
- New planting of sod or seed requires an Exemption Permit. The application requires specific information as to why planting, how much, and how often you’ll need to water.
- Residential customers are permitted to water 3 days a week with odd numbers on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday and even numbers on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday. No watering permitted on Mondays.
- Watering permitted between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
- Lawn permits are available for establishment watering. 2 week permit for sod and a 4 week permit for seed.
- Hand watering not restricted.
- Effective June 1st.
Woodmen Hills: Peyton and Falcon Areas-
- No current restrictions. The district is working on their policies and should have more information available in the next few weeks. The office indicated they are planning some restrictions and they will be effective May 1st.
- The website is not updated correctly according the the staff member in the office. It should be updated soon.
Cherokee Metro District: Stage 2
- Effective April through October
- Residential properties are limited to two days per week with odd addresses permitted on Tuesday and Saturday and even addresses on Wednesday and Sunday.
- Commercial/Industrial areas are permitted on Mondays and Fridays.
- Maximum of 3 hours per day between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
- Hand watering of turf is only permitted on assigned watering days. but trees, flowers, shrubs, and gardens can be watered any day.
- Sod/Seed permits are required and available between April 1st and May 15th or September 1st and September 30th.
- Cherokee also has specific requirements that are necessary to receive a permit including a fee, soil amendment, and a maximum of 1,500 square feet of turf permitted on the property as a whole.
Donala Water District: Stage 3 Standards
- Irrigation allowed 2 days a week with odd numbers on Monday and Friday and even numbers on Tuesday and Saturday.
- No watering permitted on Sundays
- Irrigation times are from midnight to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on assigned days.
- Residential users shall not exceed 3 hours of watering on designated days.
- Permits are requirements for sod or seed, but no amendments or proof of purchase is required. Additional watering is permitted for 2 weeks for seed installation and 3 weeks for sod installation.
- These areas do not have mandatory restrictions at this time. Residents are recommended to only water on odd or even days of the month depending on their address and to not water on the last day of the month.
- No sod or seed permits are required in these areas at this time.
I know this seems like an overload of information, but we are here to help! Feel free to call with any questions or to schedule a consultation to evaluate your property and what items will help. It may be time to consider renovating your landscape to reduce the turf or to replace it with a more drought tolerant species.