Water. Key to life. For you, and for your lawn & garden. The human body can go for something like three days without water. Your grass can go longer than that. But just how long can my grass go? How often and how much should I water?
Kind of a tough question, especially here in the Rocky Mountain region. Our weather can be so fickle it’s hard to say just exactly how much to do one way or another. Take this spring for example. We had such a dry winter, followed by a dry spring. Those deep spring snows just never came around. Lawns and gardens were looking terrible. Then along came May with over three inches of rain. Suddenly lawns, flowers and trees were going wild and growing like gangbusters. Hardly any need to water at all in May. Now it’s summer, it’s hot, it’s dry and the need to keep your lawn alive is strong.
I have sprinkler system and it’s all set to run, what else do I need to do, Pete? It’s good that you’ve set your sprinklers. But how are they set? Do you water all the time? How much water are you really getting to your grass?
Watering every day is not good. You need to water deep enough to get water to the roots of your grass. The best way to know how much water you’re actually getting on your lawn is to measure it. Simply setting sprinklers for forty minutes may be enough, you think. But how much water is actually getting to your lawn during that time? Think about rain. Rain comes down over your entire lawn all at once. That’s one reason ten minutes of rain can be like thirty minutes of running a motion sprinkler.
When to water? When it’s cool is best. Here, that generally means overnight. Best to start in the early morning, allowing the water to not sit too long and cause any fungus problems. Watering in the heat of the day is a complete waste, as is watering when the wind is blowing.
The problem with running your sprinklers at night is that you don’t see them. You will need to occasionally run your sprinkler system when you can look at what’s going on. You may have a broken sprinkler head, a leak in a line, like I did, a sticking valve or other problem that is wasting water, or not getting water to where it’s supposed to. If you have water running down your street or sidewalk in the morning after your system runs, you may well have a broken or mis-aligned sprinkler head. If you’re like me and walk across your lawn one night after watering and you’re suddenly up to your ankles in water where there should not have been any, you’ve got a leak.
Fear not, for these things are easily fixed, and the helpful folks at your local Ace Hardware are there to help you get what you need to repair these. Usually, a little time, a few basic fittings and some muddy hands are all that you need to fix things.
For more detailed information on watering check out the Colorado State University Extension at extension.colostate.edu. For more detailed help with sprinklers, hoses, drip irrigation and everything to keep your lawn & garden watered, check out your local Ace Hardware store. Tell them Pete Moss sent you!