If you’ve turned on the weather channel or gone to your favorite website for weather reports, you probably already know that the next few weeks are going to be hot. After several weeks of cooler and wetter weather, the hot temperatures will come as a shock to our bodies and the plants in our landscapes. Just like we should drink more water when it is hot, our plants will need to drink more too.
Since grass is one of the plants requiring more frequent water, it is usually one of the first plants to show signs and symptoms of drought. To help prevent drought symptoms, it is recommend that you increase your water cycles to ensure your lawn is receiving 1-1/2 to 2 inches of water per week (during these hot times of the year). The rain we received the last couple weeks in June is not adequate. We need to supplement with irrigation. Here is a general guideline of how to achieve 1-1/2 to 2” of water.
Rotating sprinkler heads, water lawn 45-60 minutes per cycle. Spray sprinkler heads, water 15-20 minutes per cycle. When the average weekly high temperature is 90 degrees, water 3-4 times (cycles) in Yakima and 4-5 times in Tri-Cities per week.
The type of sprinkler head, the volume of water it puts out, the amount of area the sprinkler needs to cover, and soil types are some of the factors that affect these guidelines.
Keep a close watch on your lawn for the early signs of drought. Grass will turn a blue/gray/green color when the plant is lacking water. At this stage you have a day or two before the lawn will turn brown. Getting water on it immediately will prevent frustrating and unsightly damage.
Finally, check your sprinklers for coverage. Sprinkler systems should be set for head-to- head coverage. That means the water from one sprinkler-head should be hitting the sprinkler-head adjacent to it. One way of measuring if you are giving your grass enough water is to place tuna cans in several areas of the lawn. Place them on the edge of the lawn, middle, near a sprinkler head and out away from sprinkler heads. Make the proper adjustments proactively and you will be enjoying a beautiful lawn that is not stressed by drought. The dark-green grass is showing drought symptoms.
One final note, if the soil is staying moist 6” deep and your grass still has brown, drought-like symptoms, you may have a billbug larva infestation in your lawn. Check our blog about billbugs.