Saturday, July 7, 2012

United States Department of Agriculture Tips for Watering your Lawn and Garden

Plants use approximately 1 inch of water from the soil each week during the summer growing season.  Therefore, this amount needs to be replenished for plants to continue to grow and thrive. Depending on where we live, nature takes care of this for us by providing rain and we supplement with additional water as needed.
Watering is a delicate balance for gardens.  Too little water causes plants to wilt and die.  Too 
much water means the plant cannot breathe; this can cause rotting and make the plant susceptible diseases.

Tip #1: Create a weekly watering plan.

Step 1: Decide how often you want to water.  1 or 2 times per week is recommended unless you
have very sandy soil or live in a very hot climate.
Step 2: Decide what method you will use to water (hose, watering can, sprinkler, drip irrigation, etc). 
Methods that apply water similar to a light rainfall are the most efficient because the water is more
easily absorbed by the soil and there will be less runoff, therefore using a hose with no attachment is
not recommended.
Step 3: Before watering according to your schedule, check if rain is scheduled for that day or the
next.  You might consider waiting to see if nature will do your watering for you.  If the rain is not
adequate, fill in the gaps yourself.

Tip #2: Monitor the rainfall in your lawn/garden and subtract that amount of water from your
weekly watering plan.  The best way to get this information is to measure it yourself, but you can
also find this information through the National Weather Service.  You can measure it yourself by
following the instructions below:

Step 1: Place a household pan or cup with straight sides (not sloping) outside near your lawn/garden
where it won’t be knocked over.
Step 2: Within 12 hours after each rainfall ends, take a ruler, stick it vertically into the rain collection
dish and measure the depth of water.  That is the approximate amount of rainfall which occurred.

Watering Suggestions to Provide 1 Inch of Water Each Week:

Watering Can:  Once Per Week:   ½ gallon of water per square foot of garden

 Twice Per Week:  ¼ gallon of water per square foot of garden

Sprinkler System: Once Per Week:   4 hours of water per reach of sprinkler

 Twice Per Week:  2 hour of water per reach of sprinkler

Hose Sprinkler:  Once Per Week:   2 hours of water per reach of sprinkler

Twice Per Week:  1 hour of water per reach of sprinkler

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