Thanks to the unusually wet spring Cache Valley’s had this year, you probably haven’t needed to turn on your sprinklers yet. That’s good, because it means that, if you’ve been careful about your water usage, we should have plenty stored up for summer use. Utah is the second driest state in the country, so water conservation is important if we want to get through the dry months.
But so is keeping your lawn healthy, right? Well, here are some things to consider about watering.
The Ideal Time to Water Your Lawn
The best time to water your lawn is in the morning, preferably before 10 AM. If you do it during the heat of the day, it’s more likely that the water will evaporate before it can sink into the soil. This will encourage shallow roots; they’ll need to be near the surface to get any moisture. That means that when the heat of summer really comes on, your grass will turn brown and die.
Although it might be tempting, avoid watering at night. This could cause the grass to stay damp too long. A damp lawn encourages bacteria and fungus to grow that might damage or even kill your grass.
How Much Water You Should Use
This one’s a bit tricky. A rule of thumb is that a lawn needs about an inch of water per week on average, but that can vary. Different types of grass have different requirements and you may be able to get away with less, or may need a little more. If your lawn is going brown, that’s generally a sign it’s not getting enough, but there’s another way to tell before it gets that far. Take a walk across your lawn and watch the footprints you leave behind. If you are watering the grass enough, then it should pop back up quickly. If your footprints linger in the grass, you need a little more than you’ve been giving it.
To conserve water, start out with a smaller amount and then watch how it does, raising the amount you give it until you find the right amount.
Sprinkler systems can be set on timers to give yourself a relatively consistent schedule for watering. It really helps you conserve water if you put a little effort into figuring it out. Some people try to water a little every morning, but this is generally a mistake. For one, it’s easy to overwater this way. For another, it means the grass absorbs it too quickly, which leads to shallow roots. As I said earlier, shallow roots are a death sentence for your lawn in the summer. Instead, water once a week for a longer period of time. This will saturate the soil so the roots grow deeper and stronger.
Always keep up to date on the water restrictions. We’ve had a good rain this year, but that doesn’t mean we should get careless. We won’t know what the water regulations will be until we see how how and dry the summer is, so be thinking about conserving your water now. Following the restrictions will help ensure that everybody has enough water to see them through the summer. Only water when and for as long as your local city tells you.
With some thought and planning, you can dramatically reduce the amount you need to use. Here are some things to consider. To avoid wasting water, make sure your sprinklers point away from sidewalks and roads. This will prevent runoff, which benefits nobody. Think carefully about your landscaping to maximize water use. Different plants, like shrubs and flowers, have different watering requirements. It’s a good idea to place plants with similar needs close together so that you can water them altogether instead of needing to water the whole lawn more. Look for drought tolerant plants to decorate your yard with.
Happy, Healthy Lawn
A healthy, green lawn is good for many reasons. It looks nice, of course, but it also can help keep your yard cooler and more pleasant to be in. Your neighbors will appreciate it, too. Don’t be wasteful, though. Here in Cache Valley, we all have a limited supply to work from. The wet spring may have given us an extra buffer against the summer, but if we abuse it, it will run tight on us. If we all plan carefully and conserve our water, we might have enough to last us through the hot months without needing restrictions. If your city does put up restrictions, make sure you follow them. Making sure our water lasts is a cooperative effort and we all need to play our part.
If there’s any help you need with your lawn – such as mowing, aeration, fertilizing, or anything else – then get in touch with us. We can help you get your lawn strong enough to last through the summer months.