In some areas of the country, extreme heat is causing stress in lawns and gardens. As the dog days continue, timely irrigation and altered maintenance practices can keep your lawn in top shape while also saving water.
Know When to Water
The first step is to throw away the schedule; grass should be watered only when needed. Water when grass blades show signs of stress by rolling or folding. A thirsty lawn will not “bounce back” as quickly when stepped on. Do your footprints linger? Time to water.
Water Deeply and Less Often
Lawns tend to be overwatered rather than underwatered, even during periods of drought. Wait until grass is dry and then irrigate deeply to wet the entire root zone. How long to water depends upon the delivery method and soil type. Follow these tips to adjust for soil type.
- Apply water only as quickly as it can be absorbed by the soil.
- Clay soil absorbs water slowly; consider watering in short cycles with a break between intervals to allow water to soak in.
- Sandy soils dry faster and require more frequent irrigation.
- Lawns require only one inch of water weekly, including rainfall.
Alter Maintenance Practices
A well maintained yard requires less water. Keep to a regular maintenance schedule throughout the year including proper fertilization, weed control, dethatching and mowing. Adopt the following practices when things heat up.
- Raise mowing height during summer to encourage root growth and reduce heat stress.
- Avoid mowing when grass is stressed. Mow after foliage has dried following irrigation or rainfall.
- Use a mulching mower like WORX 40V Power Share 17″ Mower to return grass clippings to the lawn.
- Do not fertilize cool season grasses during the heat of summer.
Saving water means lower utility bills. Maintain a healthy lawn while conserving water with these irrigation tips.
- Early morning irrigation reduces water lost to evaporation and wind. Water between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.using a simple faucet timer.
- Water is wasted when sprinklers deliver water faster than lawns can absorb it. Reduce watering time or switch to lower-output sprinklers to stop runoff.
- Use adjustable sprinkler heads to direct water where it needs to go and prevent excess runoff over driveways and sidewalks.
- Adjust irrigation according to water needs, sun exposure and rainfall to save water and improve plant health.
- Installing an irrigation system with a “smart” controller is a great way to reduce water use in the landscape.