Keeping your lawn and landscape green and healthy can be a challenge during periods of drought or high heat. There’s an art to watering your yard to make the best use of water and time, not to mention your utility bill, so if you stick to a good plan you can have a great looking yard all summer long.
So how do you know when you need to water? Grass will begin to look sort of blue-gray and wilted. It may even curl up a bit and get crispy. You can also walk on it and see how quickly it springs back. If it just lays there it’s time to help it out with some H2O.
Water deeply to encourage the roots to grow downward. The deeper they go the less often you’ll have to water. Shallow watering will cause the roots to head upward, seeking the moisture, and they will become more vulnerable to hot
temperatures and disease. An average of eight inches downward is a good measurement. The way to find out if you’re getting down that deep is to run your sprinkler for 15 minutes, wait 18-24 hours and dig a small hole in an out of the way spot and see how deep the moisture goes. For example, if those 15 minutes of watering gets you down four inches you’ll know to double your time to 30 minutes. Easy peasy!
Water early in the morning if possible. As the temperature rises so does the rate of evaporation so you’ll lose some moisture to the air especially if its windy. Watering early, between 5am and 9am, when the air is cool and wind is calmer will reduce water loss.
If you’re yard is hilly or even slightly sloped you’ll probably encounter run-off. Even if you’re watering for the correct amount of time you’ll lose water if it just runs away into the street or driveway. The best way to reduce it is to water in segments. Start with 10-15 minutes, let the ground soak up the water and then restart your sprinkler for the remaining time. You can also rotate the sprinkler to other sections of your yard to accomplish the same thing.
Don’t over water as this can cause thatch build-up and when you do need water it won’t penetrate as well. Aerating your lawn once a year can reduce thatch and increase the rate that it absorbs water.
Contact your local extension services or conservation authorities for more information on how to water your lawn for your area. You can also call us at Olympic Lawn and Landscape for advice on keeping your lawn looking its best. Of course after you’ve brought your lawn back to life someone’s going to have to cut it. So if you’d rather just stay inside on a hot day just give us a call and we’ll get your lawn and garden looking neat and beautiful.