Do you get a little grumpy when you're overheated and thirsty? So does your lawn! You may not have thought of it in quite the same way, but extreme heat stresses your lawn. The 64 ounces of water you drank yesterday doesn't quench your thirst when you're working outside in the 90 degree sunshine today. And that Summer storm three days ago doesn't necessarily meet your lawn's water needs today! So lets look at the best ways to keep your lawn hydrated during extended periods of extreme heat.
Striking the right balance between under-watering and over-watering your lawn when the temperatures start peaking in the Summer can require some trial and error. Especially when you are trying to be responsible with your water use by maximizing the efficiency of natural rainfall. The first step in finding that sweet spot is buying a rain gauge. These inexpensive tools can be found at any home improvement store or big box store, and will measure rainfall in inches when you've staked them in the yard. Generally, professionals say that most turf grasses require about 1 inch of rain per week during normal, temperate conditions. During extreme heat or drought conditions, the requirements rise to 2 to 3 inches of water.
1. CHECK OUT THE FORECAST If rain is on the horizon, hold off on watering til you see how much has fallen. Check your rain gauge after a storm, and if you've come close to the week's requirement, consider the average temperature for the week, and your lawn is still looking perky and green, you may be able to skip the supplemental watering for the week. If you've fallen short, and do not have a sprinkler irrigation system with a known, calculated output, you may struggle to know how much you should water. Here is an easy guide to use, regardless of the method you're using:
Watering Suggestions for providing 1 Inch of Water Each Week (if you're experiencing extreme heat or drought conditions, double or triple these numbers or increase the the number of days that you water your lawn):
Watering Can (vegetable garden watering requirements): Once Per Week: ½ gallon of water per square foot of garden Twice Per Week: ¼ gallon of water per square foot of garden
Sprinkler System: Once Per Week: 4 hours of water per reach of sprinkler Twice Per Week: 2 hour of water per reach of sprinkler
Hose Sprinkler: Once Per Week: 2 hours of water per reach of sprinkler Twice Per Week: 1 hour of water per reach of sprinkler
2. WATER EARLY IN THE DAY You want to water when there is the smallest opportunity for evaporation and waste. However, watering in the evening can provide an opportunity for diseases like molds and fungi to spread across your lawn since moisture builds and lingers for several hours with no sunlight to dry things out until midday. Watering early in the morning allows your grass to get a nice, thorough drink before the sun evaporates the moisture.
3. WATER DEEPLY Deep watering is necessary to deliver moisture 6-8 inches below the surface, where the roots can absorb it. If the water only reaches shallow depths, the turf grass roots will actually start to grow up toward the surface, which can cause permanent damage. Deep watering can also reduce the need for frequent watering.
4. AVOID MOWING DURING EXTREME HEAT When your lawn is particularly stressed from heat or drought, it can be limited in its ability to recover from mowing and can be damaged even more. Instead, mow the grass after a rainfall or after irrigation day. Also resist the temptation to mow your lawn too low - you should never remove more than 1/3 of the length of the grass in a cutting. Also, keep your mower blades sharp - a quick, clean cut does less damage to grass blades and allows them to recover more quickly.
DID YOU KNOW? Weed Pro has a "WaterLess Program" that in one application can reduce your lawn's watering requirements by 50%! The safe, tiny granules applied to your lawn attract free water molecules out of the air and soil like tiny magnets, converting them into microscopic droplets, delivering moisture to your lawn’s root system for three months. While not a substitue for watering your lawn (that's why it's called WaterLESS, not WaterNONE), it is an inexpensive & safe treatment that can help improve your lawn color, provide drought protection, reduce your water bill, and help prevent lawn disease!
We have designed a quick and easy calculator that will allow you to see what your current watering regimen costs you per session, and in one step, will give you the amount of money you can save each month with our WaterLess Program. In addition to this calculator, you will also see our handy, downloadable Guide to Drought and Extreme Heat Watering. This guide provides a summary of the information we've covered, so you can print it out, hang it in the shed and use it as an easy reference guide. Click below to see how you can save water and save money today!