Watering Tips

Bennett Joffrion, Fletcher, Jr., Bobby H., Razi, Sam S.  |  10/20/2007 12:49:33 AM

Reduce the need for watering by choosing water-efficient and drought-tolerant plants, including those native to your site, and plant them in the right place. If you group plants according to their water (and light) needs, you can simplify watering methods and systems. For example, separate turf irrigation zones from tree and shrub zones.

  • If you have an automatic sprinkler system, install a rain shutoff device or sensor that will override the system when it rains. Set this device to shut off your system when ½ inch of rain has fallen. Your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or a certified irrigation professional can provide technical assistance.

  • Water in the early morning (4–7 a.m.). This is the most efficient time because temperature and wind speeds are at their lowest, which reduces evaporation. Also, grasses are less susceptible to fungus if water is applied at the time that dew normally forms.

  • Avoid watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Temperature and wind speeds are at their highest during this time — so evaporative losses are more likely.
  • Follow this simple watering schedule for grass:

    • Apply ½ inch to ¾ inch of water when grass shows signs of distress (bluish-gray color/folded leaf blades).

    • Do not water again until symptoms reappear.

    • If rain is predicted within the next 24 hours, don't irrigate.
    • Use a rain gauge to measure rainfall volume.

    • Experiment with gradual reductions in irrigation to see if plants can tolerate less water. Some people use no irrigation but have healthy plants.

    • Water less in cooler months (November–March). Turn off automatic watering systems in summer if rainfall is consistent and in winter months when little water evaporates.

    • Make sure your sprinkler system is applying uniform coverage and operating properly. This single action proves to be one of the best ways to conserve water.

    • Check your system periodically for broken heads or leaks.
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