Efficient Lawn Watering
Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. A global matter: Conservation of Earth’s natural resources is one of the most important global issues of our time. Dwindling aquifer supplies, global climate changes, and increased demand have caused water to become one of our most guarded resources.
Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. Have you ever wondered why a 30-minute summer shower does more to green your lawn than three days of watering? It’s because the salts and minerals commonly found in tap water are absent from rainwater. The absence of these minerals enables lawns to absorb moisture more efficiently, and as a result, grass requires less water to stay green. By
using a rain barrel catchment system and following these water-saving tips, your lawn will become the envy of the neighborhood – and you’ll cut your water consumption in half.
• Use a rain barrel to collect water and store it for when you need it most – during periods of drought. Rain barrels are highly effective. A 1000-square-foot catchment area yields 600 gallons per inch of rainfall. Decorative rain barrels not only collect valuable rain water but are designed to bring an attractive element to homes and lawns. Although the most common plastic rain barrel size is 55 gallons, residential storage units range from small 15-gallon models to larger commercial sizes designed to hold up to 1,000 gallons. Some modular cisterns designed for larger agricultural and industrial operations have even greater storage capacities.
• Reseed your lawn with a drought-resistant grass variety such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, or Zoysia. Some strains of Fescue may also be acceptable. Avoid broad-blade grasses such as the common Bluegrass varieties which have high water requirements.
• Water in the early evening. Cooler temperatures and less sunlight give water a chance to soak into the root system before evaporation takes place. Also avoid watering during high winds.
• Water thoroughly but less often to stimulate deeper root growth.
• Adjust your mower to cut slightly higher (0.5 to 1 inch). Slightly taller lawn growth promotes deeper roots and offers cooling ground cover.
• Leave your grass clippings to remain on the lawn. Lawn clippings are a valuable source of nitrogen and are a great way to naturally fertilize your yard. Clippings also help slow moisture loss due to evaporation. You’ll be amazed at how easy conservation can be. Following these simple changes will make a big difference in your own backyard, as well as in the world.
From LoveToKnow Garden
It’s important to learn correct lawn irrigation techniques. Here are some tips to help you save water and grow a healthy lawn.
How to Irrigate
How Much Water
Most lawns need about one inch of water per week. Every yard is different though. Sandy soils may require more water, heavy soils less. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently. Allow the soil to dry between watering and
water for longer periods to encourage deeper, stronger roots. Frequent, light watering promotes shallow roots. Your grass then becomes dependent on you to provide the water that it needs. A lawn with a strong root system is able to survive summer heat and drought. In many climates, a healthy lawn can survive several weeks of summer dormancy, with little or no water, and green up again in the fall. Always heed water bans or restrictions in your
community. Water is a finite resource and must be used wisely.
When to Water
Morning is the best time to irrigate your lawn. Avoid watering in the middle of the day when more water is lost to evaporation. Watering in the evening increases the risk of disease, because grass stays damp all night.
Newly planted lawns need more frequent irrigation than established lawns. Depending on the weather, new lawns may need to be watered daily. Water enough to keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Over watering can wash away seeds, make seeds rot, cause disease, or slow the growth of grass. As the grass becomes established, water less frequently but for longer periods to promote deep roots.
Lawn Sprinklers and Irrigation Systems
You don’t need an in-ground system to have a nice lawn. A good garden hose and lawn sprinkler will suffice. Select a sprinkler based on yard size and shape. Try to supply a uniform amount of water to the entire lawn. You can monitor this by placing containers at various points beneath the sprinkler’s pattern. Measure the quantity of water captured in each container and overlap sprinkler patterns to supply the entire lawn with a uniform quantity of water.
Automatic Lawn Irrigation Systems
An in-ground lawn irrigation system can save you time. Lugging a garden hose and sprinkler from spot to spot is a lot of work, particularly if you have a large yard.
Efficient Use of Systems
An automated irrigation system can help you water efficiently if it’s used properly. But according to a study by the American Water Works Association, households that irrigate with automatic systems use up to 47 percent more water than households that don’t use them. But that statistic could be a function of the relative sizes of lawns – those with large lawns are more likely to install automatic systems. If you have an automatic system, make sure you use it efficiently by doing the following:
• Adjust your irrigation system based on current weather. There’s no point in watering during a heavy rainstorm, for example. Soil can only absorb so much water at once.
• Change your watering schedule with the season. Your lawn needs less water during the spring, fall, and winter than it does during the summer.
• Program your timer to water in cycles. Heavy soils and slopes sometimes can’t absorb water fast enough to prevent it from running off. Program your timer to water for several shorter periods, with about an hour in between, to let the water soak into the soil.
Features of Systems
Some homeowners install lawn irrigation systems themselves, while others hire professional installers. Lawn irrigation systems consist of timers, valves, underground PVC piping, and sprinkler heads.