Monday, April 30, 2012

Watering your Landscaping

When it comes to your landscaping, one of the biggest questions homeowners have is how much watering is the right amount? Knowing how to water your lawn properly can give you greener, healthier landscaping and also provide you with big savings on your water bill.

A general rule to follow is that your lawn should receive about 1 inch of water per week. If you overwater, you can saturate your soil so much that the roots lack air and can’t grow deep enough. On the other hand, if you don’t water enough, you can dry out the grass, soil, and roots to the point that your landscaping can go dormant or even die.

Here are some guidelines to follow for watering:

  • Watch for footprints that remain on your lawn after walking on it, or for the grass to turn darker than usual. Both of these are signs that it’s time to water.
  • Water as infrequently as possible. Deep, occasional watering promotes healthy roots that can tolerate the intense heat and droughts that the Houston area is prone to get.
  • Water in the morning when your lawn is wet with dew. Don’t water during midday due to evaporation, or at night because it increases the risk of some plant diseases.
  • Spread the water evenly across the area. Avoid flooding portions or missing spots. On clay soils like much of Houston has, watch for excessive runoff. It may be necessary to water in shorter spurts over several applications in order for the water to penetrate the roots. Also test your sprinkler system to make sure that it’s watering the desired areas.
  • Do not overwater. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn is getting, and if it’s more than an inch per week, water less. This will help lower water bills, insects and diseases, and maintenance requirements.
  • Be smart about fertilizing and watering. Don’t water heavily right after fertilizing because the fertilizer can run off into the water system. Instead, water lightly to allow the fertilizer to absorb into the soil. Also, wait until after a forecasted rain to fertilize your landscaping.
  • If rains are expected, don’t water. And keep track of rainfall so that you can apply less water if Mother Nature is watering your landscaping for you.

Remember that about 1 inch of water per week is only a guideline. Aim not to go over that amount, and also don’t panic if you don’t reach that number. Your lawn isn’t going to die if it doesn’t get exactly that amount one week. Just try to meet that goal and you’ll end up averaging out to the right amount.

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