Water wisely

Our Pacific Northwest climate is certainly full of twists and turns. During our dry summers, an abundance of sunshine and clear blue skies may sound perfect to you, but your yard may feel otherwise. You can help keep your yard healthy by learning how to give it the right amount of water at the right time.

How to get the most out of watering

  • Start and re-check your watering systems and adjust them for the weather. Is rain predicted? If so, you won’t need to water as much or as often.
  • Water deeply but infrequently. Most lawns only need 1” of water per week to stay green and healthy, including rainfall. If your lawn can soak up 1” of water over the course of a few hours,Sprinkler your grass roots will reach deeper in search of that water and will be healthier.
  • Not sure how to know when you’ve watered your lawn with 1” of water? Try the tuna can test. Scatter empty tuna cans or other short straight-sided containers on your lawn, turn on the sprinkler, and start timing. When most cans have 1” of water in them, turn off the sprinkler and check how long it ran. Now you will know how long to run your sprinkler each week to give your lawn 1” of water.
  • Let soil dry between watering to prevent lawn diseases and save water. 
  • If you’re letting part of your lawn go brown and dormant (which is very normal for grass to do), you should still water that area just enough to moisten the root zone once a month. Fertilizer will not bring your lawn out of dormancy, nor will it turn dormant grass green again. Most lawns will come out of dormancy on their own when temperatures are more favorable and there’s more moisture in the air. 
  • To reduce evaporation, water at dawn or evening since they are cooler parts of the day.
  • If you have rain barrels or a cistern, it's a great time to take advantage of all that rainwater you've been saving!

Check out more seasonal gardening tips.