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Ready, Set, the Heat is on!

It’s time to get the “to-do list” done because come mid-summer you may be fighting a losing battle…..Watering. As the old clique goes, “Waste not want not.”  Let’s start with an irrigation checklist:

  • Make sure all controllers, zones, and heads are properly working, with no leaks
  • Check heads for adequate coverage in ALL areas
  • Particularly where hard surfaces meet turf areas
  • Monitor and increase or decrease your irrigation according to rainfall (rain sensors are great).
  • As the rain tapers off start to acclimate the turfgrass to longer, less frequent waterings. 

Once Texas parks under the heat dome for the summer it gets hard to stay ahead of the watering game. Here’s some great watering advice from Larry Stein, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture specialist, Uvalde, and professor within the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dr. Stein said Texans need to remember several things when watering during the hot summer months. Plants can take intense heat and light if they have sufficient water. It is important to understand when to water, where to water, and how much water to use. “A good rule of “green” thumb is one inch of water a week,” he said. One thorough watering, which will deliver one inch of water at a time, is better than several shallower sessions for most plants.  “Never apply water daily or plants will not be deep-rooted,” Stein said. “Water should be applied once a week or every three or four days.” It is key to evaluate the volume of water delivered from lawn sprinklers to ensure healthy, stress-free grass during the heat of the summer. Stein said people should raise their mower height to ensure deep-rooted grass. For grass that looks like it may be beyond help, Stein reassured lawn owners that many types of grass are very forgiving and will come back especially Bermuda. Dormant grasses may look dead but will come back as the weather conditions improve.“ Even if you can only water your lawn every three to four weeks, that is often enough to keep grass going.” Many cities, water districts, river authorities, and conservation districts embrace advanced water usage monitoring methods.

WaterMyYard is a program of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and is under the direction of Dr. Guy Fipps conducted in partnership with water districts, cities, and public utilities. It is automated for your yard, helps save water, and helps keep your lawn healthy. Check out this intuitive app:WaterMyYard. If your area is not listed, reach out to your local water district and request they join. Being waterwise today may help prevent a situation of “here today, gone tomorrow.”

Lauri Neelley, Turf and Product Specialist 

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