Paul Simon: Hi! I'm Paul Simon, Landscape Horticulturist with the National Gardening Association and today we're talking about how to conserve water in your garden. And now, we'll discuss reducing lawn maintenance to conserve water use.
First, don't over water. Water only when your lawn needs it. In general, lawns only need about one inch of water per week. So over watering is not necessary. You can easily check to see if your lawn needs water by stepping on it. If the grass blades quickly spring back, then you don't need the water. If they remain flat, then it is time to water your lawn.
Then you want to identify your soil type. Soil types have differences in the rate at which they absorb water. If you have a heavy soil, you may need to water your garden with several smaller doses. Smaller doses will allow the water to soak slowly into a heavy soil, instead of loosing your water to runoff. Sandier soils can take a longer dose, and soak up quickly. However, this soil dries out faster. Therefore, it's better to take shorter, more frequently waterings to a sandy soil.
Water early; believe it or not, the best tool is a good cup of coffee. Watering between the hours of 4 a.
m. and 6 a.
m. are best for your lawn. Why is that? As the sun rises, it'll start to evaporate a lot of the water particles from your lawn. So watering early, allows that water to infiltrate, and get to the root systems of your lawn. Don't water when it's too windy. Small particles of water will easily blow into the air, and never make it to the lawn.
Also, make sure that you installed some type of trigger nozzle at the end of your hose. This allows for the automatic turn off of the water when it is not in use. The ole thumb at the end of hose opening doesn't help conserve water.
What happens is you either drop the hose down, and over water an area of your yard, or carry the hose back to the spigot, and the water just flushes out of the foundation of your house. Also, set your mower at a higher cutting level, and cut the yard less often. The higher the glass blades, the more moisture content that is retained in the yard.
Finally, consider allowing unused portions of your yard to naturally brown out while focusing your watering on desired locations in planting areas. It's also okay to let your grass grow naturally dormant in the mid-summer. It will green up again in the fall as weather gets cooler and rainier.
So that's reducing lawn maintenance to conserve water use. Up next, we'll talk about some other techniques you can do to retain moisture and conserve water in your garden.