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Tips for watering your lawn during a drought

Water fall

High temperatures and low moisture levels have wreaked havoc across North Carolina in the early part of the summer. According to new numbers released last week from the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly a quarter of the state is suffering from a “Severe Drought”. The week before, only 15 % of the state was suffering from these same conditions.

While the most concerned areas of the state are in the east, the Triad has not fared too much better. In June, Greensboro has only recorded 0.60 inches of rain water, well below the monthly average of 3.53 inches.

With the lack of rain, many homeowners are debating whether to install automatic sprinkler systems or how to appropriately use their existing system. A properly installed automatic sprinkler system can surprisingly help conserve water while keeping the grass green and gardens flourishing. During times of drought, here are some tips on wisely watering your lawns:

  • For automatic sprinkler systems, review how to set irrigation days, zone start times, run times and multiple cycles on your controller. To reduce water loss from evaporation, water at night when it is cooler and there is less wind. Be sure to water between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. or according to local water restrictions.
  • Use multiple start times or manually practice soak and cycle irrigation to avoid runoff water waste. For slopes and compacted soils like North Carolina red clay, water and allow to soak in before applying more water. Apply water slowly enough that runoff and puddling does not occur.
  • Water as infrequently as possible, without causing undue stress to the lawn and other landscape plants. Turn the sprinkler controller to the “Manual” position (from “Automatic”) and learn how to operate it manually. Don’t irrigate gardens on a set schedule because plant water use can vary greatly from one day to the next.
  • Lawns may need water every three or four days during the heat of the summer but shrubs and trees may need water only once every few weeks. Sprinklers should be zoned properly so lawns are watered separately from trees, shrubs and flowers
  • Hand-water small or isolated dry spots to extend the time between watering without watering the entire lawn.
  • Plants growing in shaded conditions often use less water and the amount of water delivered should be decreased.
  • Design sprinklers to “line out” non-irrigated areas like driveways and roads.
  • Periodic maintenance of sprinkler systems is also necessary. If sprinkler systems are over ten years old, they often require part replacements and component upgrades.

We can all be smarter with our water use, particularly during these dry months. To see how an efficient irrigation system can keep your landscape beautiful year round, contact the professionals at Landscapes R Us. We provide landscaping design, lawn services, and gardening services to properties throughout the Piedmont Triad area of NC, including Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville, Oak Ridge, and surrounding areas. Call today at 336-442-0160.