During the spring and summer, Americans spend much of their free time outside in the sunshine enjoying the warm weather. As a homeowner, this probably means you’re preparing your lawn for sports, gardening, barbecues and other outdoor fun.
One of the most basic needs of a healthy lawn is plenty of water. While you may assume all water is the same when it comes to watering the lawn, the type of water you use could have an effect on how well your grass grows and how green it appears.
What Is Soft Water?
Contrary to popular belief, all water is not created equal. If you’ve ever had a glass of water at a friend’s house and compared it to the taste of water from your own tap, you may have an idea of the differences. Depending on the city, state or even country in which you live, the quality of your water may vary.
Water from the city is rarely pure water. There’s often minerals, fluoride and other chemicals dissolved in the liquid, either intentionally or accidentally as a result of the pipe quality or water source. When water has many heavy minerals dissolved in it, the solutes can cake on our bodies, pots and pans or showers, creating scale. This is called hard water, and it is less desirable because the minerals can build up on skin, hair, clothing and appliances, making them harder to clean.
Soft water, on the other hand, has been treated to remove the majority of heavy minerals to improve taste and effectiveness when used in the shower, washing machine or other appliances. Though both are potable, soft water ensures there is as little mineral scale buildup as possible.
How Does Soft Water Harm My Lawn?
The minerals in hard water include calcium and magnesium and are most often “softened” by adding sodium. Although soft water has many benefits over hard water, using it to water your lawn could be tricky without the right preparation.
Average household water softeners function by replacing the ions in calcium and magnesium molecules with those in a sodium and potassium resin. The ions are exchanged within the water, removing hard minerals from the liquid and absorbing them into the resin itself. At the same time, the water absorbs sodium and potassium from the resin. Eventually, the resin’s sodium ions have been entirely spent and it must be replaced or replenished with new sodium ions from chemicals like lye or potassium hydroxide.
To many people, soft water tastes slightly salty due to the sodium it absorbed during the softening process. While most people don’t mind or get used to the new flavor, the sodium can be harmful to plants.
When you use soft water to water your lawn, the sodium attaches to the blades of grass or leaves of plants and acts as a barrier to water trying to enter the plant. This can dry out the lawn overall and could eventually lead to dead grass.
How Can I Make Soft Water Work for My Yard?
Soft water is still a viable option for watering your lawn, but you’ll need to mitigate your yard’s sodium buildup with agricultural gypsum. Gypsum can break down any buildup on plant leaves and roots, allowing your plants to absorb water more effectively. It also adds calcium to the soil, essentially re-hardening the water you apply to your yard.
Gypsum can be purchased at any home improvement or farming store in large bags similar to fertilizer. To apply gypsum to your lawn, dump it into a fertilizer spreader and distribute it according to the package instructions – typically 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet.
Ensure Your Plumbing Is Well-Maintained With South West Plumbing
Whether you have hard water or soft water in your area, you’ll likely run into some plumbing problems eventually. South West Plumbing maintains and repairs plumbing issues of all types, from mineral scale buildup to leaks. Our team of fast, knowledgeable, certified plumbers will ensure your home’s plumbing is functioning at its best for years to come. Contact us online or call 206-932-1777 to schedule your service today!