Green Lawncare Tips
A lawn is the thirstiest part of your landscape, and smarter irrigation can reduce water consumption significantly. By using proper water and fertilization practices, your lawn will thrive and healthy turf can prevent erosion, reduce surface water runoff, and filter pollutants before they enter the groundwater.
- To minimize stress and pest problems naturally, adjust your mower to keep the lawn 3 inches tall. By returning clippings to the lawn, you can reduce the need for fertilizer by 30% and protect water quality.
- Watering Lawns: How much do I need?
- As a rule of thumb, most lawns require about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season to keep the soil moist. This will vary depending upon the type of grass, sun exposure, and of course, weather. Shrubs and perennials will require less water than lawn.
- Adjust your irrigation scheduling seasonally
- It is common to overwater in spring and fall, when plants are growing slowly and weather is cooler. In the peak of summer, watering three times per week is sufficient; in spring and fall once or twice a week is adequate. Ask your local water agencies or Cooperative Extension offices for recommended monthly water schedules for your area.
- How much water am I using?
- To find out how much water your sprinklers deliver use this test: Place several cans various distances from the sprinkler head. Water for 15 minutes, and multiply the water depth in each can by 4 to calculate inches of water per hour.
- Water Deep
- Grass roots typically penetrate 6” to 8” and it is advisable to let the top couple of inches dry out before watering. Less frequent, deeper irrigation encourages a vigorous root system and reduces disease too.
- Water Early
- Water between 2 am and 8 am to minimize losses from evaporation. There is usually less wind then, so less water gets blown away from the landscaped area. Don’t water in the evening because grass blades are more susceptible to disease if they stay wet overnight.
- Use Short Irrigation Cycles
- An irrigation controller can be used to break a single 15-minute water application into three 5-minute applications an hour apart. This lets more water reach plant roots and reduces the runoff that carries pollutants into streams, lakes and ground water. This is especially important in sloped areas, and where soil is clayey or compacted.
- Install a Smart Irrigation Controller
- A smart irrigation controller that adjusts watering schedules based on local weather will automatically calculate the optimum irrigation schedule for every area of your landscape, adjusting for daily weather, plant type, soil type, slope and other characteristics of your site. In many communities in the Southwest, West and Pacific regions these smart controllers qualify for substantial rebates from water agencies.
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