With all the rain this May/June, you obviously haven’t needed to do much watering for your lawn yet! Just because the sun has been out for a few days doesn’t mean you need to start now. You want your lawn to have a healthy, deep root system, this is just one of many reasons NOT to turn your irrigation on yet. Deeper roots draw moisture from a larger volume of soil, and therefore, require less irrigation.
There are 2 tests you can use to determine if your yard is dry enough to start watering. The first is a screwdriver test. Adequate solk moisture at 6 to 8 inches deep is sufficient to maintain grasses during the summer. A long slender screwdriver pushed into the ground in several locations can give a quick assessment of the moisture condition of the soil. The screwdriver will easily penetrate to the soil depth that is still moist.
The other test is called foot-printing. Walk across your lawn late in the day and look back to see if your steps left footprints. Your footprints will appear in a lawn when the grass has low levels of water. When the blades are compressed by your feet, the low ater levels prevent the grass from springing back. If footprints remain for an extended period of time, it’s time to water.
Taller grass has a deeper root system that draws moisture from a larger volume of soil, and needs less irrigation. Grass should never be less than 2.5 inches after mowing. Mowing once a week is usually enough to maintain the proper height. A lawn that is 3 to 3.5″ will have a better chance of surviving prolonged drought and water restrictions.
To keep your root system healthy, water no more often than every third day, and make sure to turn it off after it rains. If you are served by Park City Municipal, call 615-5301 to obtain your Every Third Day watering sign, and you will be exempt from the every-other-day (odd/even) watering ordinance.
Many of these tips have been borrowed from Tom Ward of the Park City Water Conservation Taks force, so thanks to him for providing this helpful information.