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Smart Irrigation Helps Residents Conserve Water

July is Smart Irrigation Month. Here are answers to commonly asked questions regarding smart summertime irrigation practices.

When should I water?
Pay attention to signs of stressed grass, such as a dull green color, footprints that remain visible after walking on the lawn, or curled leaf blades. Water only after the top 2 inches of the soil has dried out. Check moisture by feel with a soil probe or a screwdriver.

What time of day should I water?
Evaporation loss can be 60 percent higher during the day, so water during the early morning or in the evening. Do not water on windy days. Watering at night does not contribute to brown patch fungus, which is caused by overwatering and high fertility.

How often should I water?
Proper watering once every five days or longer will help grass and shrubs develop deep roots (it is especially important to start this during the spring when root growth is at its peak). Over-watered turf will have a short root system and will not be drought tolerant, but it can be trained to grow deeper roots and be more drought tolerant by adjusting it slowly to successively longer periods between waterings.

How long should I water?
To determine how long you should run your sprinkler, place three to five empty straight-edged cans at different distances away from the sprinkler. Run the sprinkler for 15 minutes and measure the amount of water collected in each can. Calculate an average water depth and determine how long it will take to apply 1 inch of water, which will keep most Texas grasses healthy in the summer.

Be sure to account for any rainfall since the last irrigation. To avoid runoff on sloping areas, place sprinklers near the top of the slope and apply water slowly and intermittently ("cycle-soak").

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Posted July 10

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