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Top Story

To save water on lawns, throw some shade

How much water does your lawn really need? A University of Utah study re-evaluated lawn watering recommendations by measuring water used by lawns in Los Angeles. Scientists study how much water plants lose so that landscape managers can know how much water they need to put back in. Water evaporates in a straightforward physical process that depends primarily on the temperature and humidity of the air. But plants also lose water through transpiration, breathing out water vapor as part of their metabolism. Researchers attempt to determine a crop’s evotranspiration rates by placing a large greenhouse-like chamber over an area of plants and measure how temperature and humidity changed within the chamber. But the presence of such a large chamber changes the plants’ environment so much that the method is far from ideal.

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