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Lawn Watering Tips

  • Watering should be done on infrequent, but deep cycles. This creates a healthy root system that is better equipped to withstand heat and drought.
  • Only water when your lawn is thirsty. Overwatering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy. (One simple way to tell if your grass needs water is to step on it. If it springs back, there is ample moisture. If it lies flat, it needs water.)
  • Adjust your sprinkler so water is aimed directly at plants rather than the house, sidewalk, driveway or street.
  • Use sprinklers that spray large droplets rather than a fine mist, to reduce loss of water due to evaporation.
  • Install a rain shut-off device on automatic sprinklers or turn off irrigation systems to eliminate watering during rainy days and for several days after a soaking rain. Purchase a rain gauge to determine how much water your lawn is receiving.
  • Install moisture sensors on automatic sprinkler systems. It determines when the soil needs water and then turns on the sprinkler.
  • Install a drip irrigation system and soaker hoses for watering gardens, trees and shrubs  use of drip irrigation is specifically permitted by the Lafayette Consolidated Government Water Conservation Ordinance at any time and on any day of the week. Drip systems are the Water Smart way to deliver water directly to the roots of trees, shrubs and flowers and protect plants from water borne diseases.
  • Water evaporates quickly in the heat of the day, essentially wasting water and your efforts. Water between the hours of midnight and 2:00 in the afternoon on your designated days.
  • Never leave a garden hose running. A running hose can produce up to 600 gallons of water usage in just a few hours.
  • Install a sensor that will gauge moisture content and will override your irrigation system's cycle if the ground is already wet enough.
  • To make sure you are watering just 1 inch, attach an automatic shut-off valve to the spigot to turn the water off after it has delivered the right amount.

Landscaping Tips

  • Choose grass and plants that are drought tolerant and can handle the local climate.
  • Maintain a lawn height of 2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation.
  • Avoid planting turf in areas that are difficult to irrigate properly such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Aerate clay soils at least once a year to help the soil retain moisture.
  • Promote deep root growth through a combination of proper watering, aerating, appropriate fertilization, thatch (grass clippings) control, and attention to lawn height. A lawn with deep roots requires less water and is more resistant to drought and disease.
  • Add polymers or mulch around plants, bushes and trees to help the soil retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and provide essential nutrients.
  • Add hydrogels to plants that dry out quickly. These water-absorbing polymer crystals swell to several times their original size and slowly release water into the surrounding soil.
  • Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
  • Plan your landscape such that plants with similar water requirements are clustered together. Designate zones for areas requiring frequent watering, occasional watering, and no watering. Match plants to yard conditions such as sunny, shady, dry or damp.
  • Keep lawn and shrub beds well weeded. Weeds can steal water from other plants.

Other Outdoor Tips

  • Cover your spa or pool to reduce evaporation. An average size pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons of water per month.
  • Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinsings.
  • Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of the hose.
  • Check for leaks in outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses.

Source: American Water Works Association, www.awwa.org