Lawn and Garden Care

Rules of Thumb for Water Use on Lawns and Gardens

-One deep watering is much better than watering several times lightly.
-Lawns need about 1 inch of water each week. If the weather is very hot, apply an inch of water about every 3 days.
-Watering to a depth of 4-6 inches encourages deeper, healthier root development. It allows longer periods between watering.
-To measure the water, put an empty tuna can (or similar can) on the lawn while watering. Stop watering when the can is full or if you notice water running off the lawn.

Know Your Soil

Different soil types have different watering needs. You don't need to be a soil scientist to know how to water your soil properly. These tips can help.

-Loosen the soil around plants so it can quickly absorb water and nutrients.
-Use a 1- to 2-inch protective layer of mulch on the soil surface above the root area. Cultivating and mulching reduce evaporation and soil erosion.
-Clay soil: Add organic material such as compost or peat moss. Till or spade to help loosen the soil. Since clay soil absorbs water very slowly, water only as fast as the soil absorbs the water.
--Sandy soil: Add organic material to supplement sandy soil. Otherwise, the water can run through it so quickly that plants won't be able to absorb it.
Loam soil: The best kind of soil. It's a combination of sand, silt, and clay. Loam absorbs water readily and stores it for plants to use.

Water at the Right Time of the Day

-Early morning or evening is the best time for watering to reduce evaporation.
-To help control where your water goes, water when it's not windy.

U.S. Department of Agriculture