Watering gardens and lawns

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Watering gardens and lawns

 

Question

My husband and I are arguing over how often we should water the lawn and gardens. Will you settle this for us (hopefully in my favor)?

Answer

I can’t take sides since I don’t know what each of you are recommending. But for the most part, I find the majority of people water their lawns and gardens TOO MUCH! Water is a precious natural resource and should be respected as such. It seems that Americans can be prone to overdoing things – don’t get me started. Anyway, the general rule of thumb is to apply one inch of water per week to your lawn and gardens. This includes natural rainfall. You can keep track of how much rain you get by putting up a rain gauge (last summer I considered putting up a rain BUCKET given the amount of precipitation we received). When you do need to water, it is far better to water LESS OFTEN BUT LONGER. Translation: stop giving your lawn and gardens a shallow watering every day or every other day (I find folks with automatic irrigation systems fall into this trap); instead toughen up the plants’ roots by watering every third or fourth day (or even less!) and give them a ‘bigger glass’ of water when you do. Watering should be done in the morning, NOT at night, to reduce the risk of fungal diseases and other nasties. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems are the most water efficient. And don’t forget to give the whole gang (lawn, gardens, trees, and shrubs) a deep drink in late fall before the ground freezes. Better hydrated roots survive Old Man Winter’s attack far better than stressed-out, thirsty ones.

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