10 Steps to Wise Watering
1. Water lawns and planting beds according to their needs
Check soil moisture before watering by inserting a six-inch screwdriver into the soil. If the screwdriver can be easily inserted, you don’t need to water.
2. Know when to water
Water only around 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., never during the heat of the day or when the wind is blowing.
Water when footprints or mower tracks are visible on the turf or there are large bluish-gray patches.
Water once or twice a month during the dry, warm months of winter.
Deep-root water trees within the dripline* to a depth of 12”.
*The dripline is the area at the ground level that mirrors the canopy of the tree.
3. Properly deal with brown spots
Respond to brown spots with targeted hand watering.
Check the coverage of sprinklers or improperly adjusted heads/nozzles.
Look for broken lines or heads and clogged nozzles that result in poor spray patterns.
4. Know when to skip the water
Don’t water on cool, cloudy days or days following a half inch or more of rain.
5. Optimize your sprinkler system
Upgrade or install drip irrigation or underground watering systems to help limit evaporation and water roots more efficiently.
Design or redesign your yard to include separate watering zones for trees, flowerbeds, gardens and lawns.
Verify that watering time is appropriate for each zone. A shade zone requires less water than a hot, sunny area. Cooler seasons require less water compared to hot summer months. Adjust the length of watering time per zone from spring to fall.
Check your timer to ensure it meets your local watering restrictions.
Consider installing timer upgrades.
6. Use best practices when watering with a hose
Use household timers to remind you to move or stop soaker hoses and sprinklers.
Check sprinklers to verify adequate watering levels – you can do this easily by using a shallow dish to measure the water collected and determine watering time.
7. Understand that aeration is crucial to a healthy lawn
Aeration relieves soil compaction and allows better water, air and fertilizer penetration, resulting in less water runoff and better plant health.
For best results, aerate under moderate moisture conditions.
8. Mow efficiently
Set your mower at the highest level possible and make sure the blade is sharp.
Leave clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients back into the soil.
9. Fertilize appropriately
Consider applying iron fertilizers moderately. Reduce nitrogen application rates.
Fertilize in summer with a slow-release fertilizer. In the fall, follow product recommendations.
10. Use mulch
Apply mulch to reduce evaporation, retain moisture, and control weeds.