How To Maintain a Healthy Lawn & Landscape
All plants need some amount of moisture to survive. Too much or too little is the number one factor in keeping your landscape happy and healthy. Most home have a wide variety of plants and turf to keep irrigated and not all plants need the same amount of water. Knowing the moisture requirements of your landscape is the first step to keeping it looking great.
Lawns require the most water and maintenance of your landscape. To keep a Kentucky bluegrass lawn healthy throughout the summer months, it needs ¾ to 1” of water per week. To figure out how long to water, place three rain gauges or equal sized containers in your lawn. Place one near the irrigation head, one in the middle, and one at the outer range of the head. Turn on the sprinkler for a period of 15 minutes and measure the amount of water in each container and add them together. Divide that number by 3 to get the average amount of water in 15 minutes. If you measure a quarter of an inch of water in 15 minutes then you know that you will have to water for a total of 1 hour per week in order to get 1” of water on the lawn. If you have irrigation zones with different heads you will need to figure them separately to get the rate of water. For instance spray heads in a boulevard put out more water in a shorter amount of time than a rotary head in the middle of the lawn. Once you figure out the amount of time needed per week, split that up by 2 to 3 times per week. Watering less often for a longer period of time will drive moisture further into the ground and be better for the lawn.
Trees and shrubs need far less water than the lawn. The number one killer of new trees and shrubs is over watering. Plants need oxygen in the soil to survive, if the soil is too wet the roots will rot and the plant will drown. The amount of water plants need depends on their size and location. A newly planted shade tree will need approximately 10 – 15 gallons of water every 2 weeks where as a smaller perennial may need a half of a gallon every 3 to 4 days. Established plants have a larger root system and may not need any additional watering except for in times of severe drought. With these few tips you can create a healthier landscape and help conserve our precious water supply.