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Now that we’re heading into the summer heat, we should be shifting our watering habits and getting to know our city’s water restriction guidelines. With proper planning and the right watering techniques, you can keep your garden healthy, even during the heat.
Focus on the soil first:
A healthy lawn and landscape always starts with the soil. Soil that is rich in organic matter will naturally retain more moisture. Amending your beds with organic compost and topdressing with 2-inches of mulch will conserve moisture.
Stimulating microbial growth in your soil will also help build plant vigor and tolerance of drought conditions. Liquid seaweed is a good soil stimulator, as well as products like Espoma BioTone and earthworm castings.
Watering too often doesn’t help:
Homeowners often make the mistake of watering frequently, but for short periods of time. However, deep, infrequent watering is best for established landscapes. Shallow watering results in weak root systems. Weak root systems are more susceptible to heat and drought. When it comes to lawns, watering too frequently will also encourage fungal diseases.
A deep watering once per week is sufficient for established lawns and landscapes. You can always supplement your sprinkler watering with hand watering or soaker hoses for new plants, veggies and container gardens. If you’re under more strict watering restrictions, a deep watering with your sprinkler system every other week is sufficient, as long as you supplement by hand-watering new plantings,
seasonal color and vegetable gardens.
Low-drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses are not subject to these watering restrictions.
A common question is how long to run an automated sprinkler. Most homeowners tend to run their systems three or four times per week for 10 minutes per zone. This is the worst way to water! Once per week for 40 minutes to 1 hour per zone is much more effective. But, you'll need to audit your system to find out exactly low long to run each zone, and see if your soil can absorb that much water in one delivery – or if you'll have to split up your cycles. Every system is different and pressure will vary. *
If you live in Dallas, you may water your landscape with your automated sprinkler system twice per week. You may hand water in your landscape or trees any day of the week and also use drip or soaker hoses whenever needed. Different cities have their own watering restrictions, so be sure to know your city’s ordinance.
*Tip: Have an irrigation system audit performed to make sure you don't have any leaks, clogged heads or problems with pressure. A licensed irrigator can also help you learn how long to run each zone in order to deliver the equivilent of 1" worth of ranfall to your landscape. That's how you'll determine how long to run each zone.
Find out more on all of these topics and more this weekend May 24th and 25th at NHG's WATER WISE WEEKEND! North Texas water issues from the experts, managing home sprinkler systems, tough perennials for the garden and more. Great plant specials, too! Visit the Events page at NHG.com for details!