The fact is most lawns are overwatered. Our lawns do not need to be watered every day or even every other day.  What we think the grass needs and what the grass really needs are sometimes two very different things. Watering your lawn under water restrictions usually means watering on specified days or watering a set number of days per week. Our lawns will not only survive but do just fine with less water than we think.

Use the following guidelines to water your lawn more efficiently and better manage the water that is available to you.

Water early morning or in the evening

This will keep the moisture in the soil longer and help to lessen water lost due to evaporation.

Don't water when it's windy

Watering when it's windy only insures that you will be watering driveways and sidewalks as much as your lawn.

Just because it's your day to water doesn't mean you have to

Watch current weather conditions. If it has been cool and cloudy for several days or it has rained the day before, wait until the next scheduled day to water.

Cycle through sprinkler zones

To prevent run off, especially on slopes, water twice a day, but for less time. Set   each zone to run for 1/2 the normal run time, and then water each zone again for 1/2 the normal run time. This will allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil.

Inspect your sprinkler system

Look for leaks or broken heads. Make sure each head is adjusted for proper coverage and not watering driveways and sidewalks along with the grass.

Adjust sprinkler clocks for time of year

We don't need to water as much in April or September as we do in July or August. Set run times to be less in the cooler months and a little longer during the hot months. Running sprinkler zones for the same length of time all year will result in over watering during the cool months and under watering during the heat of the Summer.

Let the grass tell us when to water

Water when the grass needs it. Look for signs of stress. If the grass is purplish or steel gray in color, it is dehydrated and needs water. If the grass is crunchy or leaves footprints when you walk across it, it needs water.

Water only the brown spots

There is no need to water the entire lawn in order to water a few brown spots. These can be watered by hand, applying water only where it is needed.

Reduce foot traffic on the lawn

Limiting foot traffic will reduce the recovery time needed from use, and thus less water to maintain.

Accept less than a perfect lawn

In the life cycle of the plant, grass will green up in the Spring; go dormant during the hot Summer months and green back up in the Fall. The only reason it stays green all Summer is we want it to stay green, and that means ever increasing amounts of water to keep it green. Letting your lawn go dormant during the heat of the Summer does mean it will die. It simply means accepting a little more brown and a little less green. During dormancy the grass will need less water to survive. It will green up again with the cooler temperatures in the Fall.

When faced with water restrictions we must learn to think differently about watering our lawns.  This may mean accepting less than a perfect lawn.  It is the responsibility of us all to be better stewards of our water resources.

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