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Landscapers say it's easy to keep lawns green under new water restrictions

Landscapers say it's easy to keep lawns green under new wate

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs' City Council approved of water restrictions proposed by Colorado Springs Utilities on Tuesday. 

Under the new restrictions, homeowners and businesses would only be allowed to water their lawns two days a week starting Monday.

Odd-numbered homes will water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Even-numbered homes will water Sundays and Wednesdays. Businesses will water lawns on Mondays and Fridays. Also, lawns must be watered between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. on assigned days.

People spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on their yards but some landscaping experts said the water restrictions won't kill their investments.

Homeowner Dean Stone was uneasy about the water restrictions.

"My trees are really going to suffer. I've got some really nice trees, awesome color in the fall.  They're budding out now so I just want to give them all the extra water I can," said Stone.

Under the new proposal, Stone and others will be allowed to water their trees, plants and shrubs with an "active positive shutoff nozzle" any day of the week. CSU explained it's a hose with a head on it that you can shut on and off with your hand as you're using it.

Brent Harl with Lawn Doctor said your yard's biggest enemy during the drought will be mites.  Harl said water helps deter mites but under the restrictions, people will have to water less.

He said gray grass is a tell-tale sign of mites. He explained it's easy to check for mites. 

"You'll go to where there is some green grass [mixed with the yellow grasses in your yard] and brush vigorously onto a piece of paper. You should see some spots [on the paper] and then you squish them and they're like blood," said Harl.

Despite steps to protect your lawn, a neighbor's poor upkeep of their yard can impact your lawn's health.

"If you have neighbors that aren't maintaining their lawn, that's where the bugs typically come from," said Harl.

Harl explained brown-colored grass doesn't mean your lawn is dead.  It's a sign that grass is dormant and with water, it will come back.

Three landscaping experts reiterated the importance of watering within CSU's specified watering time of 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. They said watering that time means less water evaporates, maximizing the amount of water your lawn gets to absorb.

CSU said it will be taking an "education first" approach to the restrictions. If someone is reported to be watering when they aren't supposed to, they will receive a notice.  After someone is caught watering twice when they aren't supposed to be and they receive a two notices, the next step would be to issue a violation.

However, a CSU worker must witness and videotape the homeowner watering illegally before a violation is issued. The penalty will be $300 and with each violation, the money amount could increase. The maximum penalty would be $1,000. 

CSU could go as far as shutting off a customer's water, but CSU said it's never had to do that.

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