Looks like freezing temps are in our future. If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to turn off your controller to avoid busted pipes and frozen driveways. Here are some water conservation tips for all and winter months.
FALL WATER CONSERVATION TIPS
In the fall, plants require less water. Adjust your system accordingly.
Thinking about overseeding your yard? Over-seeding warm-season lawns, such as Bermudagrass, with cool-season grasses, such as perennial rye grass in the fall can provide a beautiful landscape until spring in Texas. However, from a water conservation standpoint, landscaping experts don’t recommend over-seeding with perennial ryegrass. An over-seeded lawn will require more irrigation because of the water needs of cool-season grasses versus the reduced water requirements of dormant warm-season grasses. When establishing new lawns in the fall, apply for a short-term watering variance. It will allow daily irrigation of new sod or over-seeded grasses for 30 days without risk of a citation.
To prepare for winter and freezing conditions, turn off water, drain valves and blow out excess water in the lines with compressed air.
Disconnect, drain, coil and store garden hoses to reduce wear.
Check your water usage history for unusual changes that may signal leaks or other wasteful problems.
If you have a sprinkler system, it’s a good time to have it checked out by a professional. Call First Response Lawn Care if you need an inspection of your irrigation system.
BUCKLE DOWN FOR WINTER
Tree roots continue to grow during the winter. If extended dry spells are experienced, consider hand watering your trees once a month.
Check your lawn. Warm-season grasses (like Bermudagrass) go dormant during winter months, but they still require adequate moisture. Cool-season lawns, like tall fescue, only need 1″ of water every two weeks. Irrigate your lawn in the morning during warmer winter days to avoid winter kill if dry conditions persist.
Turn sprinklers off during freezing temperatures to avoid icy streets and can even result in a fine.
The burning question this week is “Should I water my lawn in the winter”? And the answer is, “YES”! Your grass needs about 1 to 2 inches of water per week, including rainfall depending upon your type of grass.
During the periods of prolonged winter drought, if the air temperature is above freezing and the soil isn’t frozen, you should water every two or three weeks for 15 to 20 minutes – just enough to provide moisture to the crown and roots and counteract the drying effects of winter winds. Time afternoon watering so grass blades don’t remain moist overnight, which minimizes the threat of fungal diseases. If your grass is long and lush, you can try deep soaking. This allows the water to penetrate deep into the sub-soil and root zone of the grass, six inches deep. If you cut your lawn severely last fall or mow it in winter so that top growth is very short, it will dry out even faster. Even in winter, it’s best to leave your grass tall.
It’s also important to know your grass type. Cool season grasses like fescue, rye or even bluegrass do not necessarily go completely dormant during the winter months. It’s a good idea to water them every now and then when there is no forecast of a hard freeze. Texas generally has Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, and centipede grasses, which are warm-season grasses. These go dormant once temperatures drop below freezing. The combinations of warm and cool season grasses might include Bermuda and rye or Zoysia combined with fescue or rye. With all these combinations, the result is often the same – a two-tone lawn.
When Heat Rises Increase Watering Your Garden
Now that the summer temps are reaching triple digits, we need to take extra care in watering the lawn, plants and vegetable garden. We happen to notice that our tomatoes weren’t producing much, and the pepper plants looked particularly wilted recently. Veggies need water to produce, so watering the garden correctly is crucial in the hot summer especially when we are not getting enough rain. Tomatoes are especially unforgiving if they dry out, then get wet and get dried out again. This creates problems like blossom end rot. And if you start noticing cracks in your fruit, this happens when water follows a drought, causing the fruit to expand suddenly and split the skin. The only way to avoid this is to keep the soil consistently moist. We’ve put together a list of tips for watering your garden that should help in this heat!
Water your vegetables two to three times a week or more.
During really hot summer weather, watering the garden deeply and often is critical. The water needs to penetrate the soil to encourage deep roots and get away from the hot soil surface. If you aren’t using a sprinkler or drip system, put a cup or can in the garden soil and don’t stop watering until it has collected at least an inch of water. If your veggies are in containers like pots, you need to water every day during the heat because containers dry out faster than the ground. To hand-water a small plot, or pots, use a nozzle turned to the “shower” setting for gentle, rain-like watering. If water just puddles on the surface of the soil at first, move on, and come back several times to be sure the water is actually soaking in to the soil. The soil needs to be thoroughly moist.
Watch your garden for an “indicator” plant.
The first indication of a wilting plant in the garden is your dehydration indicator. When you notice a plant with droopy leaves, you need to take action. The first is usually a plant with big leaves like squash, cucumber and melon because those lose lots of moisture fast. But in our veggie garden, we noticed the peppers and tomatoes wilted first. Of course, it’s better to water consistently so that this never happens. We all have busy lives and even the attentive gardeners get caught by wilting plants in the summer months. Note that in very hot, dry, and sunny weather, the big-leafed plants will wilt a bit mid-day no matter what, but they recover quickly in the evening. We keep a watering schedule programmed in our cell phone to remind us to check the more vulnerable plants each day at some point.
Avoid wetting the plant’s leaves.
If you use a sprinkler system, it is impossible not to wet the leaves when watering the garden, so in that case, water early in the morning so that the foliage will dry early and quickly to minimize disease risk. You can put the sprinkler on a timer so that it comes on just before daybreak, when the leaves may already be wet with dew. The gardening principle here is to avoid adding to the length of time that the leaves stay wet because many diseases need moisture to thrive.
Help keep water in the ground.
Use mulch! We recommend organic mulch like chopped up leaves, finely ground bark, wheat straw or pine needles, but any mulch is better than none. Spread mulch around and under plants. This creates a barrier between the moist soil and the blazing sun. You need a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch in hot weather. This will act as a shade cloth to keep in moisture and cool plant roots. Without mulch, the intense sun bakes the soil requiring even more watering.
If you need help reviving your lawn in the heat of the summer, call your lawn care experts First Response Lawn Care at (214) 701-7622. We serve Rockwall and surrounding cities Royse City, Fate, Rowlett, Sachse, Wylie, Lavon, Forney, Heath, Garland, and Mesquite Texas. We are here to help!
Texas Summer Lawn Watering Guidelines
During times of prolonged summer heat and dry weather we need to provide plants, trees, flowers, lawn sod and seed with extra watering. Weeds are very opportunistic and will take advantage of dry, thin turf to quickly spread. Keep your lawn healthy to serve as a natural weed prevention. We’ve got the goods on the sweet spot!
Save these watering guidelines as a handy reference during the hot, dry days of summer:
For best results, water your lawn thoroughly three times a week if you do not get significant rainfall.
- In hot, dry weather, water shrubs and flowers daily.
- Morning, around 2 to 8 a.m., is the best time to water. Why? The a.m. is the best time to water the lawn because the air is cooler and there’s usually not much wind to blow the droplets. In the middle of the day, water evaporates too quickly. And in the evenings, water can cling to the blades of grass overnight, which can cause lawn diseases.
- Watering at any time of day is better than not watering at all.
- The rule of thumb for lawns is to water one-inch deep each time you water. It’s better for the lawn to water heavily and less frequently, than to lightly mist it every day.
- Use a rain gauge to make measuring an inch of water easy. If you don’t have a rain gauge, place a tuna can (or similarly sized vessel) in your yard as you water. When the can is full, you’ve watered enough!
- Pay special attention to high-sun areas of the lawn.
- Don’t forget that even mature trees need water, too.
Follow the watering guidelines above to ensure a dense turf throughout the summer.
If you have an irrigation system that isn’t working properly or have any questions about maintaining a healthy lawn, call First Response Lawn Care today at (214) 701-7622. We service Rockwall, Royse City and surrounding areas.
The City of Rockwall has listed current watering restrictions to conserve water throughout the extreme periods of the North Texas drought as follows.
- Watering permitted up to 2 times per week, as needed
- There are no assigned watering days
- Do not water between 10am – 6pm
Rockwall residents are urged to follow these guidelines and remember that watering is not allowed between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. This provides for the most efficient, cost-effective use of water purchased by customers. For more tips on how to practice conservation, visit the City’s conservation page at:
http://www.rockwall.com/conservation/conversationtips.asp and use the Water My Yard program at https://watermyyard.org/#/Location to better determine when and how much water to apply to your lawn.
Let us install a sprinkler system for you so you don’t have to worry with trying to adhere to the watering restrictions. First Response Lawncare can set up an irrigation system that will automatically water on set day/times for you.
Installing a watering system helps your grass develop into the beautiful, healthy lawn you always wanted. Lawn irrigation systems are the most efficient way to make sure your yard gets the water it needs without over doing it.
- Save Time: Irrigation systems work on their own, so no more wasting time manually watering. Now you have more time to do the things you love, while your lawn gets what it needs to thrive.
- Save Money: The benefits of an irrigation system outweigh the initial cost of the system, which will pay for itself sooner than you think.
- Save Water: Installing an irrigation system can conserve water while maintaining a healthy landscape.
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