- Don’t Be a Lawn Watering Dummy
- Watering Basics for Established Lawns
- Best Time to Water Your Lawn
- Best Time to Water Lawn
- How Long to Water Your Lawn
- How Often to Water Your Lawn
- How to Tell if Your Lawn Has Been Watered Enough
- Watering Different Lawn Types
- Typical Mistakes When Watering Your Lawn
- When to Stop Watering Your Lawn in the Fall
- Caring For Autumn Lawns – Lawn Care Tips For The Fall
- How to Take Care of Lawns in Fall
- Do you need to water your lawn in the fall (October, November)? I know you…
- When to Stop Watering Your Lawn This Fall
- The Comprehensive Guide To Watering Your Lawn
- General Watering Tips to Follow
- Smart Sprinkler Tips to Save Water & Money
- Other Ways to Save Water
- Should You Let Your Lawn Go Dormant?
Don’t Be a Lawn Watering Dummy
Following up last week’s strident defense of every American’s right to grow a lawn, Grumpy needs to educate his countrymen on how to do so wisely, responsibly, and efficiently. Because when it comes to lawn care, there’s a lot of dumbness going on.
Nothing is stupider than the way people water. People water too much, too often, at the wrong times, and the wrong way. Not only does this waste a valuable and increasingly scarce resource, it also makes your lawn look worse by increasing disease, insect, and thatch problems. How many of the followinghave you seen in your neighborhood?
Stupid Lawn Tricks
Using sprinklers in the blazing hot sun. Hello? Using sprinklers when it’s sunny and 95 degrees is dumber than swimming with polar bears. Practically all the water applied will evaporate into the hot air before ever reaching the roots. You might as well water the storm drain.
Using sprinklers when it’s raining. Most people guilty of this use in-ground sprinklers set by a timer. Having to eat boiled yak every day for a year is not too harsh a punishment.
Using sprinklers to water the street. Again, in-ground sprinklers are the culprit. People set them to go off in the middle of the night and never see where the sprinklers are pointed. As I’ve said before, you can water asphalt all you want, but that stuff just ain’t gonna grow.
Giving your flowers, shrubs, and trees the same amount of water that you give your grass. Different plants have different water requirements. Treating them all the same means one will be happy and the others will hate you. Who practices such idiocy more often than anybody else? Owners of in-ground sprinkler systems.
Watering the grass every single day for 15 minutes. This turns the lawn into a shallow-rooted water junkie that demands a water fix every day just to soldier on. Instead of watering shallowly every day for 15 minutes, water deeply once a week for an hour or so (or how ever long it takes to apply an inch of water). You can also look into treating your water if you are a fanatic like me, check out some Water Softener Reviews, your grass will never be greener. Your lawn will be healthier and more drought-tolerant. It will also have fewer loathsome weeds like dollarweed and nutgrass (nutsedge) that thrive in overwatered lawns.
Let’s All Water Less
“Dr. Strangelove” is one of Grumpy’s all-time favorite movies. In it, Air Force General Jack D. Ripper, convinced that Communists are using fluoridation to pollute “our precious bodily fluids,” launches a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. He correctly points out that most of our bodies are water and that fresh, pure water is essential to our survival. If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t spoil the ending for you, except to say that if you’re terrified of dark, confined spaces, you’ll be thrilled that the Cold War is over.
Ripper was right. Pure, fresh water is fundamental to human life, yet we waste it in so many ways — from building humongous, bloated desert cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas that have to steal their water from distant rivers to average folks who overwater their grass. So how can you have a nice lawn while using a modicum of water? Grumpy shall elucidate.
Choose a grass well-adapted to your region. Here in north-central Alabama, most people grow either Zoysia or Bermuda. Both are naturally drought-tolerant and don’t need regular watering. Grumpy has a Bermuda grass lawn that he almost never waters. When it doesn’t rain, the grass goes dormant and turns brown. OK, fine. Eventually, it rains and the grass wakes up and turns green again. Simple. Now you can try to grow tall fescue here, but unless you water it regularly, it dies in a heartbeat. St. Augustine grows well here, but needs more water than Zoysia and Bermuda. Bottom line — pick a grass suited to your climate that doesn’t need a lot of water.
Don’t make the lawn bigger than you need. Devote more area to natural areas and drought-tolerant plants and ground covers. Watch your water bill shrink.
Water at the right time. The best time to water is very early morning before it gets hot. Most of the water will make it to the roots. Plus, the grass blades will dry quickly, preventing disease problems.
Don’t mow your grass during droughts. Cut grass loses lots of moisture through cut blades and turns brown if you don’t water it. So don’t cut. Grumpy’s rule during hot, dry summers is, don’t cut the grass until it rains two days in a row.
Cut your grass at the highest recommended height for your grass. Taller grass shades and cools the ground, reducing moisture loss. In a drought, taller grass always stays greener longer than shorter grass. So cut bluegrass at 2 to 3 inches, tall fescue at 3 inches, perennial ryegrass at 2 inches, Bermuda at 1-1/2 to 2 inches, Centipede at 2 inches, St. Augustine at 3 to 4 inches, and Zoysia at 2 inches.
If you don’t have in-ground sprinklers, don’t get them.People with sprinkler systems always use more water because watering is so easy. You don’t have to drag hoses. You just set the timer and forget it. For more convienence in the garden, Top9Rated has reviews of garden products from ride on lawn mowers to outdoor tents. Take a look today to find something that could save you time in the garden.
Just look at the Atlanta metro area to see the consequence of sprinkler systems gone wild. For 10 years, practically every house built came with lawn sprinklers. No one really thought about how much water they’d need. Then Atlanta had a terrible drought and its principal water supply, Lake Lanier, nearly dried up. They had to ban all outside watering, unless you carried gray water outside. Water junkie lawns dried up and died.
Finally, if you live in an arid place like Phoenix or Las Vegas, don’t plant grass at all. Stay indoors and watch Netflix. Choose movies with “green” in the title. My son’s favorite: “How Green Is My Toilet.”
Watering Basics for Established Lawns
Turfgrass lawns need water for growth and development. In many areas of the world, there is neither sufficient rainfall, nor is it adequately spaced throughout the year to sustain your lawn without supplemental water supplied by irrigation.
Proper watering practices improve the quality of your lawn, provide important environmental benefits, and save you money.
Water is a valuable resource and should be used as efficiently as possible. It may be hard to believe, but most homeowners tend to over-water their lawns and actually waste water by not following a few relatively simple irrigation practices.
The amount of water an established lawn requires and receives will help determine its overall health, beauty, drought resistance and ability to withstand use.
On an average, the lawn needs about one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, either by rainfall or in combination with irrigation. However, the water requirement will vary between different turfgrass species and even among cultivars within a specie.
There also will be varying water requirements for seasonal changes, for sun and shade factors, and for the degree of slope within areas of the lawn. Still more watering differences are brought about because of different soil types.
The healthiest lawns are produced when they are watered heavily at infrequent intervals. One-inch (2.5 cm) of water per week will normally soak the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches (10 – 15 cm), allowing the water to reach deep into the root system.
Let the lawn completely dry out between watering intervals. Most turfgrass can tolerate dryer conditions over a reasonable period of time.
Look at your lawn to determine if it needs water. Grass in need of water will have a grey-blue cast to it. On an adequately watered lawn, footprints will completely disappear within minutes. On a lawn in need of water, footprints will still be visible after a half-hour or more.
You also can use a soil probe, such as a screwdriver or large spike, to determine how dry your lawn is. If the probe can be pushed into the soil easily, the soil is probably still moist. But if it takes a lot of pressure to push in, the soil is too dry. Water only when the probe is difficult to push into the ground or shows that the soil is dry at a depth of 4 to 6 inches (10.16 – 15.24 cm).
The best times to water your lawn are early morning or early evening, when there is generally less wind and heat. Watering then allows for less evaporation into the air, greater penetration into the soil, and less run-off.
Whether watering with an in-ground sprinkIer system or above-ground hose-end sprinklers you need to inspect the components frequently to ensure they are operating properly. Also check to make sure you are getting uniform water coverage across the lawn.
If puddles or run-off occur, allow water to penetrate into the soil before resuming watering. If your watering system is applying water faster than it can be absorbed by the soil, you will want to adjust the amount of water applied, or the timing of the application, or both.
Best Time to Water Your Lawn
By Emily Murphy
Best Time to Water Lawn
Looking for a guide that tells you exactly how to water your lawn to get the greenest, lushest lawn on the block? You are in the right place! Read on for everything there is to know about lawn care, from when is the best time to water lawn tips to watering different lawn types, Gilmour’s lawn watering guide has got you covered. We will explore:
- How Long to Water Your Lawn
- How Often to Water Your Lawn
- How to Tell if Your Lawn Has Been Watered Enough
- Watering Different Lawn Types
- Typical Mistakes When Watering Your Lawn
How Long to Water Your Lawn
It is ideal to water lawns about one inch of water per week. To determine how long you need to water to get one inch, place a plastic container in your yard and set a timer. On average, it will take 30 minutes to get a half inch of water. So, 20 minutes, three times per week will give a lawn about an inch of water.
This formula works best with healthy, well-cultivated soil. Healthy soil provides excellent drainage while also providing just the right amount of water retention at the root zone, where grass needs it most. Poor soil with inadequate drainage will cause soil to become waterlogged, while soil devoid of organic matter will cause water to drain, leaving soil unnecessarily dry.
How Often to Water Your Lawn
Watering grass daily will result in a shallow root system. And shallow root systems dry out fast, weakening lawns. Infrequent, deep watering encourages grass roots to run deep, developing strong systems below-ground. This allows lawns to be more resilient to changing weather while becoming hardier and disease resistant.
The average lawn needs to be watered three times per week during warm months, providing a total of about one inch of water over the course of the week. Lawns can be watered as little as one to two times per week to achieve the same goal in cooler seasons, when there is naturally less evaporation and a higher chance of rainfall.
How to Tell if Your Lawn Has Been Watered Enough
There are some simple tricks that will determine if a lawn is receiving enough water. First, does it look healthy? If it looks healthy, then it probably is – which means stick to what you are doing. Another way to determine if your lawn needs to be watered is to submerge a screwdriver into the grass. If it easily sinks 6 to 7 inches, then your lawn is receiving an adequate amount of water each week. If not, it is probably time to make a change to your watering routine.
Be ready for changing weather and be aware of when a lawn needs more feeding and fertilizing. Give lawns an organic fertilizer and compost in fall and spring and cut back on watering when dry days turn to rainy ones.
If you see mushrooms growing in your grass, it is most likely due to overwatering. The best next step is to decrease the amount of watering until the mushrooms are gone.
Watering Different Lawn Types
How long to water lawn varieties and how to care for the different types will depend on several factors, including the season, the zone you are in and most importantly the type of grass you are growing. Different lawn types will have different watering and overall care needs, so it is important to pay attention to the type of lawn that is growing. Once you know how much to water a specific lawn type, it is easy to set a schedule that will give thirsty lawns the perfect amount of water all season long.
Warm-Season Grasses – Warm-season grasses such as zoysia and bermuda grass grow best when the air temperature is above 80 degrees. They slow down when daytime temperatures start to drop, but they still need moisture to remain healthy. Continue to water them as long as the grass is growing and needs regular mowing. Fall is not the time to fertilize warm-season lawns. Wait until spring, when the active growing season begins.
Cool Season Grasses – Cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, fescue and rye, are actively growing in the fall, recovering from summer dormancy. Cool fall temperatures keep evaporation rates low, but these grasses still need an inch to an inch and a half of water every week until frost ends the growing season. Cool-season grasses are also typically fertilized in the fall, and watering after fertilizing is important to wash the fertilizer off the blades of grass and down into the soil.
Typical Mistakes When Watering Your Lawn
The idea of watering a lawn may sound like a no-brainer, but in reality, there are multiple mistakes you can make along the way that can prevent lawns from looking their best. Luckily, there are effective watering lawn tips that can help you become a watering pro.
An “Any-Sprinkler-Will-Do” Attitude
No lawn is created equal, which is why Gilmour’s sprinklers aren’t either. Conserve water by spraying only where it is needed. It’s important to consider a lawn’s size and shape. Then select the best sprinkler for the space.
First, determine the lawn’s square footage with the Gilmour Lawn Size Calculator. Just plug in your address, use the tool to measure the area that will be watered and decide from there whether a sprinkler for a small, medium or large space is necessary. Next, think about the lawn’s shape. A sprinkler should cover a yard’s specific shape and size.
The Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler, for example, is ideal for circular- or irregular-shaped spaces with a customized spray pattern. Be the water-spray designer – just pull the pegs up to shorten the spray reach or push down to lengthen the distance. Wave goodbye to water wasted on sidewalks, siding and your neighbor’s lawn.
Ignoring Your Grass’ Needs
Taking a lawn’s age into consideration is important. A fully-grown lawn can handle a more powerful spray, whereas newly seeded lawns need a gentler touch. If you only have a small area of newly planted seeds, a Stationary Square Sprinkler works well for gentle spot-watering, while an Adjustable Length Wind-Resistant Rectangular Sprinkler can cover a bigger area.
For a sprinkler that will grow along with the grass, try the Circular Sprinkler Spike with on/off switch. The diffuser pin allows for a customized force of spray, from a steady shower for new grass to a more powerful stream for mature lawns.
Watering at the Wrong Time
To water well, timing is everything. Water in the early morning – between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Midday watering leads to wasteful evaporation, while nighttime watering causes droplets to cling to grass overnight, increasing the chance of lawn diseases.
A Dual Outlet Electronic Water Timer will prove handy for those mornings you are away or want to sleep in. Just program the start time, frequency and duration of watering, and let the timer take care of the rest. The dual outlets make it easy to hook up two hoses at once and program separate schedules for different parts of the yard. We suggest attaching a Flexogen Super Duty Hose, as it easily curves around the yard without kinking and connects to a spigot without leaking – saving water and money.
Watering the Wrong Amount
While overwatering is a common mistake, it happens to be one of the most detrimental. Unless watering newly planted grass seed, don’t water every day.
Frequent, shallow watering wastes water and money. It also leads to a number of lawn problems, including diseases, insect infestations and damage from heat and cold. On the other hand, watering longer but less frequently, “deep watering,” produces deep roots that mean lawns can better survive periods of drought. The ideal watering schedule is once or twice per week, for about 25 to 30 minutes each time.
Taking care of a lawn doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, all-consuming task. Once all the tips and tricks are in your back pocket, it will be easy to come up with a routine that results in a gorgeous green lawn.
When to Stop Watering Your Lawn in the Fall
The intensity of the heat and the sun’s rays that are present during the summer months can wreak havoc on outdoor plants—but with consistent watering practices, it is easy to maintain a lush green lawn throughout the growing season. Once fall arrives, however, it is time to change the way you care for your grass to prepare it for the cooler weather ahead; here’s how.
When to Stop Watering Your Lawn
If you live in an area that has four distinct seasons, autumn is a time when temperatures begin to drop, the days become shorter, and the growth of your grass begins to slow down. With less heat and sunshine to help speed up the evaporation process your lawn needs less to drink, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop watering altogether or abruptly.
As conditions can vary across the country, follow these general rules for when to stop watering plants in fall weather:
- Continue to provide supplemental moisture as needed until the ground is frozen.
- If your area receives one inch or more of precipitation per week you don’t need to water.
- Fungal diseases may take hold if your lawn is overwatered.
- During times when the weather is warm and dry, continue to water a few times a week.
- In the case of a new lawn or one that has been overseeded, maintain regular watering practices to establish roots and promote growth.
Regardless of which type of irrigation system you choose, making a few simple adjustments to your watering schedule each fall will give your wallet a rest, while preparing your lawn for the winter months ahead.
Fall Lawn Care Tips
The steps that you take in the fall can help to keep your lawn beautiful throughout the cooler weather and help it to come back stronger and healthier next spring.
Growth begins to slow down as the cooler temperatures set in and your lawn starts to prepare itself for dormancy throughout the winter. While it’s important to continue mowing your lawn during this time you will need to make a few adjustments:
- Gradually lower the height of the mower until you reach a length between one and a half to two inches.
- Continue to mow if your grass continues growing.
Cool-season grass will benefit from the application of fertilizer each fall, as the nutrients provided help to ensure vigorous growth in the spring. Use a slow release granular fertilizer, and water the area well unless rainfall is imminent.
Once the leaves and snow begin to fall, it can be difficult to eradicate future spring weeds. Begin tackling unwanted spring weeds early in the fall, when cooler temperatures and slow-growth provide the ideal environment for them to take over your lawn.
Eliminate bare patches, deter the growth of weeds, and establish new growth each spring by spreading seeds across your lawn each fall. Follow the package directions and apply at the recommended rate prior to the first snowfall.
When the soil in your lawn becomes tightly compacted, air, water, and nutrients are unable to penetrate it. Call the experts at The Grounds Guys® to schedule fall lawn aeration to promote healthy growth through each season.
Whether you prefer to pull out the rake yourself, call in the professionals for fall clean-up, or use a mulching mower, removing the leaves from your landscape is a vital part of fall lawn care. As soon as they fall from the tree leaves begin to decompose, which can cause dead spots in your lawn, provide a home for damaging pests, and promote the growth of weeds.
Need help with your lawn maintenance or landscaping projects? Contact The Grounds Guys near you!
Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighborly brand. Discover an entire network of professionals to assist with any of your home service needs at GetNeighborly.com.
Caring For Autumn Lawns – Lawn Care Tips For The Fall
Your lawn did its part, now it’s your turn. All summer long your lawn offered its welcoming green carpet for your family activities, but, come fall, it needs some help to keep looking its best. As a homeowner, you know that this is one call you have to heed. Read on for information on the care of lawns in fall.
How to Take Care of Lawns in Fall
Fall lawn care is critical to a maintaining a beautiful front yard. You’ll need to change the cultural care you offered your grass in summer to fit the new season and the lawn’s needs. Here are some lawn care tips for the fall:
Watering – When you are caring for autumn lawns, watch your irrigation. With the dry, hot summer behind you, your lawn needs less to drink. While reducing irrigation is an essential part of caring for autumn lawns, don’t stop watering abruptly. You need to keep minimal irrigation going all winter long unless your area gets at least one inch of precipitation a week.
Mowing – Keep mowing! You thought you could stop mowing the grass when the kids returned to school? Think again. You need to keep mowing as long as the lawn is growing. For the final, before-winter mow, cut cool-season grasses to 2½ inches and warm-season grasses between 1½ and 2 inches. This is an important part of lawn maintenance in autumn.
Mulching leaves – Care of lawns in fall requires you to get out the garden tools. Those tree leaves that have fallen on your grass may be thick enough to smother it, but raking and burning isn’t necessary. To take care of lawns in fall, use a mulching mower to shred the leaves into small pieces. Leave these in place to protect and nourish your lawn through winter.
Fertilizing – Fall lawn care includes feeding your lawn if you have cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses should not get fed until spring. Be sure to use a slow-release granular fertilizer. Put on garden gloves, then sprinkle the correct amount evenly over your lawn. Water the area well unless rain arrives within a few days.
Seeding – If your cool-season grass is looking bare or bald in spots, you can reseed it as part of lawn maintenance in autumn, since the ground is usually warm enough to germinate grass seeds. Sprinkle the appropriate type of lawn seeds on those spots that need help. Use seeds at about half the recommended rate for new lawns. Replenish warm-season lawns in springtime, not as part care of lawns in fall.
Do you need to water your lawn in the fall (October, November)? I know you…
Lawn watering is often stopped in early fall. Conventional thinking is that because evapo-transpiration (ET) rates are low and the turf isn’t growing much, it is OK to stop watering. However, historic ET and rainfall data for most of Minnesota shows a need of 0.5 to 1.0 inches of irrigation per week during September and October.
While mowing isn’t needed as frequently during fall, the turf DOES continue to grow – but in ways that differ from spring and summer. Turfgrasses form tillers (side shoots) and rhizomes that increase the density of fall turf. This is an important time for turf to “heal” after a stressful summer, especially if it has been worn down by traffic or suffered from disease or insect problems.
Fall watering is essential for late season nitrogen applications to work most effectively. Fertilizer applied to dry turf is less likely to enhance fall rooting and increase energy storage.
Fall is the best time of year to control perennial broadleaf weeds – dandelion, clover, bindweed, plantain, and thistle, to name a few. Fall herbicide applications are more effective when applied to healthy, green, actively growing weeds. The herbicide is more easily absorbed and translocated to weed roots resulting in better control.
Finally, fall watering of lawns that were damaged by winter mites (clover mites, Banks grass mites) is essential for discouraging mite activity this upcoming winter and reducing potential mite problems.
When to Stop Watering Your Lawn This Fall
The fall of 2015 has been a very unusually dry and warm one across the midwest. With high temperatures in the 60’s -70’s and lows in the 50’s, the conditions are just right for some last minute fall lawn seeding or repair with sod.
Many irrigation companies are also wanting customers to winterize their lawn irrigation systems this time of year. However, with very little frost, the conditions are right to continue watering the lawn at least a couple of times a week.
The rule that I have found reading several articles on this topic and having looked at this topic of when to stop watering in a past article is looking at the soil temperature map. Once the soil temperatures approach the 40 degree fahrenheit mark, this is the time I start looking at winterizing and stopping the flow of water to the outside lawn irrigation system.
Watch the weather and be prepared when temperatures drop this fall. For the next 10 days, it appears the temperatures are not even close to dropping toward 32 degrees fahrenheit.
photo credit: The wet waste basket / La papelera mojada via photopin (license)
The Comprehensive Guide To Watering Your Lawn
From general watering tips to sprinkler tricks to water conservation hacks, Heritage Lawns and Irrigation has put together this comprehensive blog to help keep your lawn green while keeping more green in your pocket as well. Whether you water by hand or have a sprinkler system, use these tips to keep your lawn green and gorgeous all season long.
General Watering Tips to Follow
Your lawn requires the following for optimum results:
- 1 to 2 inches of water per week during the growing season (use rain gauge or a small bucket for proper measurements).
- Water in the morning! The best time to water is between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. when the wind is low and the water doesn’t evaporate so fast. It also helps knock the dew off the lawn which aids in disease control.
- Water slowly. Our heavy clay soil only accepts .25 inches of water per hour so anything over that just runs off down the storm sewer.
- Use the rain/soak/rain method. Let your zones run just long enough to deliver .25” of water and then move to the next zone. Then start over and run through each again about 1 hour apart. This will deliver a deep soaking that is good for the roots.
- Water when needed! Soak the root zone and then let it dry.
- During the hottest part of the year, water 2 to 3 times each week (adjusting your watering for rainfall). As a rule, it is much better to water deeply and infrequently than to water a little bit every day.
- Water a minimum of 1/2 to 3/4 inches of water during each watering session.
- Water slowly to avoid run-off.
- Water to a minimum soil depth of 4 inches (use a stake or screwdriver to test depth).
- More water is required during the summer and hot weather.
- Less water is required during the spring and fall and during cool weather.
Avoid the following for optimum results:
- Light, frequent watering which causes shallow, weak root systems that are very susceptible to drought and disease damage.
- Heavy, fast watering (high pressure) which can lead to unnecessary runoff and soil erosion
Additional Read: Soil Sensors are Taking the Guesswork out of Watering the Lawn
Following the above guidelines will encourage a healthy deep grass root system that is more drought and disease resistant.
Smart Sprinkler Tips to Save Water & Money
Water-wise habits will result in a healthier lawn and landscape, in addition to conserving water.
Install Water Efficient Sprinklers & Nozzles
-Today’s water efficient sprinklers and nozzles are designed to produce drops of water that are larger, wind resistant, prevent evaporation, and reduce the potential for overwatering. These systems also help to increase water savings by 30
Consider Drip Irrigation for Your Lawn
When an estimated 50% of landscape irrigation water use is wasted, this is an especially helpful upgrade for your home. Install micro irrigation for gardens, trees and shrubs, and plant beds. Micro irrigation includes drip (also known as trickle), micro spray jets, micro-sprinklers, or bubbler irrigation to irrigate slowly and minimize evaporation, runoff and overspray. With drip irrigation, 90-100% of the water goes to the roots, which is where it is needed. This efficient style of irrigation keeps water off the house too, which minimizes wood rot, and allows you to water only where you want. This system is also known as trickle irrigation or localized irrigation and can help with 30-50% of water savings.
Avoid Watering in the Rain
Install a rain shutoff switch. This inexpensive and effective device is required by law in many states. In fact, these money-saving sensors turn off your system in rainy weather and help to compensate for natural rainfall. The device can be retrofitted to almost any system. Install climate or soil moisture sensor-based controllers. These controllers evaluate weather or soil moisture conditions and then calculate and automatically adjust the irrigation schedule to meet the specific needs of your landscape. These irrigation controllers give just the right amount of water to your lawn and plants. Because the average homeowner uses 1/3 of their water on landscape irrigation, this technology helps cut back those costs.
Inspect and Adjust Your Sprinkler System
At the beginning of the season, check for leaks, broken or clogged heads, correct obstruction, and other problems. Adjust sprinkler heads to keep water off pavement and structures. Perform a uniformity test to make sure areas are being watered evenly. This can be especially helpful if you have areas being under-watered or brown spots.
Adapt Your Watering Schedule to the Weather and the Season
Familiarize yourself with the settings on your home’s irrigation controller. Adjust the watering schedule regularly to conform with the weather conditions. Most importantly you should know how to add or subtract days of the week that you water. Once the times are set, you’ll adjust how many days per week you are watering throughout the season.
Schedule Watering by Zone
Don’t water everything every day! Different plants need different watering schedules. Flower beds and pots need to be watered more frequently than turf so set their schedules on separate programs. Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system. “Scheduling” accounts for the type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and the soil type for the specific area. The same watering schedule should almost never apply to all zones in the system.
If you’re not sure how to, or just don’t want to, do these things you can get a professional audit. Hire an Irrigation Associated certified professional to perform an audit and make recommendations for improvements. The Irrigation Association maintains an online list of IA Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditors.
Other Ways to Save Water
With residential water rates more than doubling in most U.S. states within the past decade, conserving water has become more of a hot topic than ever before. With simple practices and new technology, existing sprinkler systems can be made more efficient, lowering your water bill, reducing runoff and eliminating waste. Heritage Lawns & Irrigation put together a few tips for you to follow when it comes to outdoor water conservation. The less you waste, the more you save. Some of these will overlap with our watering and sprinkler tips, but follow them all and you’ll see your water bill drop:
- Use an automatic timed sprinkler system to water your yard. It is the most efficient water system because it controls the amount of water used. It can also be set to run overnight or in the early morning when temperatures and winds are at the lowest levels, reducing the amount of evaporation.
- Install a drip sprinkler system. Slow watering can save up to 60% of all water used in lawn and garden areas.
- Aerate your lawn. This ensures maximum water penetration.
- Use pressurized irrigation systems. They deliver water more efficiently than any other method of lawns, gardens and crops.
- Avoid wasting water. When it comes to cleaning sidewalks and driveways, use a broom or a blower instead of a hose.
- Utilize soil moisture measurement devices. They monitor the amount of water in the soil available to plants and will turn irrigation watering on or off as appropriate to maximize plant growth while minimizing water use.
- Remove dead or dying plants, including weeds. When still in the ground, they compete with the healthy, living plants for available water.
- Loosen soil around plants occasionally. Doing this or mulching the soil surface helps to cut down on water evaporation.
- Wash cars with a bucket of water. Do not let the water run while washing your car. Use a nozzle or hose-end turn off valve. If possible, drive your vehicle onto the lawn so excess water can be absorbed into the landscape.
- Use pool covers to reduce evaporation. In arid climates, an average sized swimming pool loses about 1,000 gallons of water per month if left uncovered.
- Avoid using sprinklers for play. Yes, this is extremely enjoyable for young children but it accounts for an incalculable loss of water.
Should You Let Your Lawn Go Dormant?
To let your lawn go dormant or not is a question we get asked a lot in the middle of summer. Really what people are asking is should they water or not? While it is personal preference, it’s a pretty simple process.
If your lawn has already turned brown, even though you’ve been watering 2 or 3 times per week, then the decision is easy. You won’t be able to make it green up with temperatures in the upper 90’s, so just stop watering and save the money.
You should still water deeply every 2 weeks to keep the crowns (the main growing point) from kicking the bucket, but if you continue to water when the lawn is dormant, you will just encourage weeds. If you decide to keep the lawn green, watering deeply and every other day should do the trick. With hot dry weather, you need about 2 inches of water per week.
We hope these tips help you get the greenest lawn and save you money on your water bill too! For more information about landscape irrigation water use give Heritage Lawns a call at (913) 451-4664 or contact us online.
Tags: Lawn care, watering lawns