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Q:

What are the guidelines for watering the lawn during the summer, especially during a drought?

A:

To effectively work with the watering constraints imposed during a drought, limit water-demanding turf areas in your landscape. A reduced lawn area will be much easier to water more efficiently.

Ways to keep the lawn green are:
- Select grasses for drought tolerance; they will go dormant in drought, but green up again as soon as rainfall begins.
- Leave grass clippings on lawn to conserve moisture and return soil nutrients.
- Keep lawns high keeping grass at 2 to 3" mowing height (varies according to grass species).
- Water early in the morning when evaporation loss is low.

In order to avoid wilting, lawns need about 1" of water per week in spring. This will encourage deep rooting before summer sets in. If this does not occur as rainfall, then supplemental watering will be necessary. As the temperature goes higher more than one inch may be needed to keep lawns looking their best. To determine the proper amount of supplemental watering, place measuring devices such as rain gauges and/or containers around the lawn. If rainfall does not supply the amount needed, then use your watering system to make up the deficit. You will need to figure out the amount of time it takes to deliver 1/2" of water and use that time as a guide to supply the right amount. Turn on the sprinkler system, and when there is 1" in the container that is how long it needs to run.

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