Search

Now is not a good time to plant grass

Homeowner’s associations aim to maintain neighborhood standards, but they can’t legally require you to replace or water your brown lawn.

If you’re a homeowner in San Antonio, your community may be managed by a homeowner’s association or HOA.

Keep in mind that your HOA is always looking to maintain neighborhood standards and working with them to make landscape changes can be a complicated process. But if you’re receiving letters from your HOA complaining about the current state of your yard, take a deep breath: They cannot legally require you to install, re-sod or irrigate turf grass.

Lawns are definitely taking a beating in this drought. And we’re completely boggled to hear reports of some HOAs telling residents to install new grass right now. This is one of the worst times to install thirsty turf grass.

The current weather pattern is historic: only twice in the past thirty years has the Edwards aquifer level ever been this low. And there’s simply no change on the horizon.

If you’ve been served by an HOA demanding new grass in your yard, rest assured you are under no obligation to plant, replace or water your brown grass. City Ordinance says so.

And with Stage 2 watering restrictions firmly in place for the foreseeable future, there are no irrigation variances available for re-landscaping — meaning any new turf installations must be watered in by hand. Gulp.

It will require an epic rain event to relieve the demand on the Edwards Aquifer. Of course, we know that one day that flood will come. But until then, it may take a long, long, LONG time before thirsty sod should be replaced.

In addition, in the State of Texas per SB 198, an HOA cannot prohibit drought-tolerant landscaping. Inform your HOA your turf grass is drought tolerant. With sufficient soil depth, approved turf grasses can survive up to 60 days without water, even if their leaves are brown.

After it cools off, you can help your lawn by adding some compost or drought-resilient shade. In the meantime, keep the place tidy and find neighborly ways to work with your HOA.

They’re our neighbors too, so remind them we’re all in the same boat. Landscaping is as close as many of us get to farming: when it comes to grass, you can’t hurry the crop.

Brad Wier
Brad Wier
Brad Wier is a SAWS conservation planner. Years in South Texas landscaping and public horticulture gave him a lasting enthusiasm for native plants that don’t die when sprinklers -- and gardeners -- break down. He’d rather save time and water for kayaking and tubing. He is a former kilt model, and hears hummingbirds.
Share
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Email
Print
Ask the Garden Geeks

Have questions, insights, or exciting news to share? Our resident expert Garden Geeks are here to help!