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Efficient lawn watering

What happens to water you put on your lawn? Water can be used by plants, evaporate from the soil or percolate down through the soil to the water table.

Lawn sprinkles

The most efficient watering system for a lawn is to water it only when necessary. Check the amount of moisture in the soil about three inches under the surface with a screwdriver or small garden trowel. If the soil is damp, there's no need to water - even if the surface soil looks dry.

To determine the rate at which your sprinkler system applies water to your lawn, place several small containers in the area being watered. Run the system for 15 minutes, then measure the depth of water in all of the containers and average them. Multiply the average by four to determine how much water is applied to the lawn per hour.

Typical lawns should receive at least one inch of water per week. When you do water, don't apply water too quickly. Heavy clay soil can only absorb about one-quarter inch of water an hour. That means that this type of soil should be watered more frequently with smaller amounts of moisture.

Finally, avoid watering during the heat of the day. Water early in the morning or in the evening. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, water during the night; our climate is so dry that night watering doesn't create problems unless you overdo it.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).


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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013