Longmont, CO – – – As the heat continues this summer, it’s important to understand how much water your lawn actually needs, how much water you are applying and when is the best time to water. The Rocky Mountain Sod Growers are the experts in the field and want people to understand the water needs of turf so that water isn’t wasted.
While efforts are being undertaken to remove turf from the environment, the reality is that turf benefits the environment. However, myths about the water usage of Kentucky Bluegrass, and turf in general, continue. The science is clear, when watered properly, turf benefits the environment many ways.
Additionally, while concerns are being expressed about the ability of people to keep cool this summer, it isn’t logical to remove one of the best cooling plants in our landscape. Failure to understand this may result in the heat island effect worsening heat for many people.
How much water are you actually applying? Verifying watering uniformity can be accomplished with a very simple and inexpensive method that uses only 4 to 6 flat-bottomed, straight-sided cans (gauges), a ruler and a watch.
- Arrange “gauges” at random distances away from any sprinkler, but all within the area you assume is being covered.
- Run the sprinkler for a specific time (pop-up spray heads – 15 minutes, rotors- 30 minutes).
- Measure the amount of water in each can, checking for uniformity. Some variation is expected, but a difference of 10% or more between any two gauges must be addressed by adjusting sprinkler coverage or repairing sprinkler heads.
When should you water? One simple method of determining whether the grass needs watering is to become aware of dehydration signs given by the grass. They are:
- First Stage – grass blades turn bluish gray in color.
- Second Stage – footprints or mower wheel tracks are left when walked upon.
- Third Stage – grass blades turn straw color.
Another way is to use a soil probe, such as a screwdriver or large spike to determine how dry your lawn is. If the probe can be pushed into the soil easily, it’s probably still moist, but if it takes a lot of pressure to push it in, it is time to water.
Watering Guide – The amount of water shown illustrates the need for more water in the heat of the season and less during cooler periods. Apply 1/2″-3/4″ of water in 2 or 3 cycles to promote deeper infiltration and minimize run-off. Adjust the amount of water throughout the growing season by how often the grass is irrigated. Check the lawn as stated above to see if it needs water. Postpone or skip watering if there has been sufficient rainfall.
Information Provided by Rocky Mountain Sod Growers
Remember, grass doesn’t waste water – people do. For more information on watering, the heat island effect and much more, visit www.sod-growers.com.
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