When you understand your lawn’s environmental needs and tailor your lawn care practices to suit local conditions, you get a healthy, environmentally friendly lawn. Design your yard so it thrives on rainwater alone, without additional irrigation. Another reason for lawn irrigation is the fact that Florida’s sandy soils do not hold much water.
Water at the right time.
Watering in the early morning or late evening when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest will reduce water loss through evaporation. Check with your local Water Management District office or Cooperative Extension Service office to find out how often to water. Tighter watering restrictions may be in order for different counties ranging from one day per week to two days per week and as restrictive as from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm for no watering.
Set your timers.
To keep your yard healthy with just enough water, it is important to set your timer with a watering schedule that suits your area considering the amount of rainfall you usually get. For example, in Southwest Florida, a suggested watering schedule is two days a week (such as Monday and Thursday).
Determining when to water.
The most efficient way to water a lawn is to apply water when it begins to show signs of stress from lack of water. The following signs are indications of water need:
1. Bluish-gray areas in the lawn
2. Footprints or tire tracks that remain in the grass long after being made
3. Many leaf blades folded in half
4. Soil sample from the root zone feels dry.
Prolonged dry periods of high temperatures, strong winds, and low relative humidity cause these symptoms. During such times, plants wilt even though water may be in the soil, because they are
By following a similar type of schedule in your area, you can save about 10 – 20% on your water bill. However, keep a close eye for signs of excessive wilting if rainfall is not typical. The amount of watering needed can vary by the types of plants you have in your yard and the amount of rainfall you receive.
Position sprinklers properly.
Make sure the water lands on your plants and grass and not on paved areas. Lawns only need about ¾ inch of water in one watering session. Place empty tuna cans or measuring cups around the yard (all within range of the sprinkler, some close, some farther away). Turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, measure the amount of water collected in each can/cup.
Signs of a perfect lawn
Avoid extremes in watering frequency and amount. Light, frequent watering is inefficient and encourages shallow root systems. Excessive irrigation, which keeps the root system saturated with water, is harmful to the lawn. Roots need a balance of water and air to function and grow properly. You might also enjoy our blog on knowing when to apply fertilizer on a Florida lawn.
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