Gardening: Watering your yard during the day could help you make your lawn more efficient
Everyone should water their lawn during the day, at least once a week, to locate any problems that might exist, including leaking pipes, broken heads and sprinklers that are throwing water out in the street. Those who don’t turn on their sprinkler systems to check for these problems are most likely wasting more water than neighbors who always water during the day. Sprinklers that throw a mist instead of large droplets are wasteful whether the system comes on during the day or night. Once you identify excessive pressure as a problem it can be corrected by installing a pressure regulator on the zone valve. You will never know if this is a problem if you don’t turn on your sprinklers during the day.
Letting the system run its full schedule during the day will also help you determine if you need to use the cycle and soak option. How else will you know if you are applying water too fast and it is running off the lawn and down the street? When you identify this as a problem you can correct it by splitting the time needed to apply the water among different start times. For example if it takes 20 minutes to water your lawn, but running it that long at one time causes water to run off the lawn and down the street, you can split the time, seven minutes each, between three start times. Set the start times one hour apart to give the water a chance to sink in before the zone runs again. If you need details on this process give High County Lawns a call at 970-245-0875 and ask Annika to send you the publication on this procedure. The time per start differs based on the type of sprinkler; spray, impact, multi stream, rotary, so you need this publication to help you pick the correct settings.
There are times when you should water during the day longer than required to examine the system. If you drop by your home at noon and find your lawn is under drought stress, when the grass has a blue cast, the turf is under drought stress. Those who believe they shouldn’t water during the day will wait until that night to water. In some cases, these individuals will let the controller take care of the drought problem even if it means a couple days go by before the system comes on. By waiting even a few hours you could be putting the grass under real stress and causing root death. When roots die more water needs to be applied to maintain the lawn. To reduce the amount of water used over the long run, watering during the day to reduce stress actually conserves water.
It is possible those who water during the day conserve more water than those who water only at night.
Free Press columnist Dr. Curtis E. Swift is a retired horticulture agent with the Colorado State University Extension. Reach him at Curtis.Swift@alumni.colostate.edu, 970-778-7866 or check out his blog at http://SwiftsGardeningBlog.blogspot.com. He owns Swift Horticultural Consulting and High Altitude Lavender.
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