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Best Practices for Lawn and Garden Watering

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1-looking down the garden from patio-flickr-Shelley & Dave
Photo credit: Shelley & Dave / Flickr

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A beautiful lawn is a welcoming and hospitable part of a beautiful home, but there’s more to good lawn care than hitting the yard with a sprinkler a few times a week. A nationwide drought and high utility prices demand the use of eco-friendly watering practices, and watering smartly can also result in a better looking bed of grass.

If you’re not ready to hit the xeriscaping craze just yet, try these best practices for responsible lawn maintenance.

Don’t Act like Noah and the Great Flood

Inundating a lawn with a deluge of water is just as harmful as forgetting to break out the watering can for your geraniums. Most lawns need no more than an inch of water each week. Watering your lawn too much won’t make it green or healthy.

Remember that a sprinkler or rainfall will satisfy hydration requirements. Don’t put your sprinkler system on autopilot, if the forecast calls for rain. Additionally, consider the climate.

Watering a desert lawn in an arid climate like New Mexico differs from the sticky humidity of a home on the Gulf Coast.

However, if you’re in the desert, now might be the time to think about a lawn full of cacti instead of grass. Additionally, use zone-appropriate plants and you won’t need to water that often to keep them green.

Make Believe You’re a Vampire

It’s noon and it looks like your lawn could use a drink. What better time to water the lawn than when it looks thirsty?

Watering gardens and the lawn in the middle of the day is actually the worst time to break out the hose or watering can. The glaring sun above may burn flowers and leaves because it will pool on plant surfaces and act like a magnifying glass.

Also, the water you use on the grass during the middle of the day will evaporate before your thirsty lawn can take a drink. The best time to water is in the evening or the very early morning.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Things Up

As long as you water regularly, you shouldn’t need to water a lawn more than once a week. However, if conditions become exceptionally hot and dry, you might give the lawn an extra, brief drink. If you walk across the lawn and notice that your footprints remain in the grass, you probably need to give the lawn a quick soaking.

Gardens, on the other hand, tend to need more attention in hot conditions. A quick sprinkling of water in the morning before 7 AM, as well as another dusting at twilight, will keep fragile flowers from getting too thirsty. Remember that established plants don’t need as much water.

Waste Not, Want Not

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that almost 30 percent of the water used in the average home today is devoted to watering the lawn. Unfortunately, water used to keep lawns green is often wasted through inefficient use of this vital resource.

Up to 50 percent of water used on lawns today is wasted because of over-watering and evaporation. Help keep your lawn healthy by avoiding excessive watering in the midday heat, and you’ll help to keep the planet green for future generations.

Watering your lawn correctly doesn’t require a doctorate in yard care. Remember to water in the evening and to avoid over-watering. Your lawn and garden will stay green and healthy all season long, and will also have the strength to hibernate during the winter.


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