Do you want to save water in your landscape?
By Brian Niemann
Photo: Turfgrass turning brown as it enters the dormancy phase. Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension
If you have an automatic irrigation system, the winter months are a great time to save water and increase the health of your lawn by paying close attention to the weather and your irrigation controller.
According to research scientists at the University of Florida, your lawn doesn’t need as much water during the cooler months as it would during the warmer parts of the year. Even in Pinellas County, our plants want to slow their growth and enter a dormancy phase. Your lawn only needs one-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10-14 days to survive through the winter. This total includes any water your lawn may have received from recent rainfall.
Isn’t more always better?
No, overwatering your lawn can lead to many pest and disease problems, and makes your lawn less able to survive periods of drought. All you have to do in order to skip a week of irrigation is set your irrigation controller to “off” until your lawn needs water again.
How do I know when my lawn needs water?
Let your lawn tell you when it needs water. Look for the following symptoms on at least one-third of your lawn to know when it is time to turn your system back to “on”:
- Grass has a blue-gray color
- When you walk across the lawn, footprints remain for several minutes
- Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise.
The rain gauge at the Niemann household tells me I received one-half an inch of rain yesterday, with much more predicted for later in the week. I’ll be turning my controller to “off” when I get home tonight. How about you?
For more information about irrigation scheduling or any of the other Florida-Friendly Landscaping® Practices, contact Brian Niemann.