Well – ONCE in a while – I am wrong (unless you talk to my wife). You see, around the middle of June, I was telling many clients, landscapers and farmers not to worry about all the rain we were getting. I was sure July 1st would hit, and we would not see another drop. Well I was wrong by 18 days.
The last measurable rain at the South Bend Airport was on July 19, 2015. We got a ½ inch that day and over 1-¾ inch the day before that.
Today, after visiting a few of my favorite internet weather sites it does not look like we will see any rain for a while longer, other than a 30% chance this Sunday. We could very well see three more weeks without significant rain.
With that in mind, the question you might be asking yourself is, “What do I need to do with my yard?
Keep in mind that there are two different types of yards right now:
- yards that are recently established by seed or sod (less than 1 year old); and
- yards that are already well-established (1 year or older).
If you are planning on doing a NEW seeding or sodding with Red Hen’s products, you should already have our instructions – so stick with that or let us know if you need those instructions.
But what about a 1-year-old or older established yard? There are basically 2 different ways to go about it.
- You can let it go, stop watering, and let your lawn go dormant until we get enough rain and hope for the best. Some grasses will make it through and others will not. Some types like perennial and annual ryegrass may not make it. Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass do have a much better chance or surviving longer periods without rain or irrigation… or
- You can keep up with watering, BUT REMEMBER THE KEY IS TO “WATER DEEPLY AND INFREQUENTLY“. For my own lawn, I am planning on watering deeply every 3 days until the next rain.
If you choose to keep up with your watering, and you need to keep an eye on your water bill and are looking to help conserve water, here are some good pointers:
- With more shade, grasses need less water than in areas than full sun. And keep in mind that as trees grow taller, they naturally create more shade. Adjust your sprinkler heads accordingly in shady vs. full sun areas.
- Look for areas in your yard that are greener than others. Areas that are less-green need more water. For instance, you’ll see that on a hill, the grass at the bottom is usually much greener. Adjust your sprinkler heads accordingly.
- As discussed in our previous post about irrigation efficiency, you should consider calibrating your sprinkler heads. Sound complicated? Not really. Basically, you set cups out across a zone check to see if they have the same amount of water, or at least close. If not, adjust your sprinkler heads accordingly. CLICK HERE to check out our article that includes instructions on calibrating your sprinkler.
Until next time,
Jeremy Cooper & the Red Hen Turf Team
Call us at 574-232-6811 .. for our location and hours, click here.
- Purdue Extension’s guide: Irrigation Practices for Home Lawns (pdf)
- We’re not technically in a drought period at this point, but if you want to keep an eye on things, the U.S. Drought Monitor website is the place to go.
- During the Summer 2012 drought, Purdue also wrote this informative article, Home lawn during drought: To water … or not?
Calibrating Sprinkler’s Link updated: 9/25/20