Beat the Summer Heat

You've labored all spring to get your lawn and garden in tiptop shape for summer, and you'd like something to show for it. So don't let the sun's rays put your hard work - or your water - to waste. What will it take to keep your greens looking healthy and hydrated during the hot summer months? Hint: It's not just water.

Follow these helpful lawn and garden watering techniques to ensure you're watering plants sufficiently and properly:

  • Don't Overdo It - Most lawns need only an inch of water each week. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn is getting. If using a sprinkler, place it by the rain gauge for 15 minutes. If the rain gauge reaches a half inch in that time, you know you only need to water your lawn for 30 minutes each week.
  • Know How to Mow - Setting the blade on your lawn mower no lower than 2 1/2 to 3 inches keeps roots shaded and better able to hold water. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn can also help reduce moisture loss and return nitrogen to the grass.
  • Shower in the Mornings - Early morning, before 9 a.m., is typically the best time to water. The sun isn't as hot and wind speeds are lower, giving your plants and grass more time to drink in the water.
  • Get to the Bottom of It - When watering plants, pour water around the base of the stem. The foliage will provide shade and prevent evaporation while the water is absorbed directly into the roots.
  • Water Deep - It is best to water your garden thoroughly once a week rather than giving it a light watering every day. Deep watering less often is more effective than frequent, shallow watering because it encourages plants to establish a deeper root system.
  • Map It Out - Water your plants more efficiently by grouping plants together with similar watering needs. You should also consider the different conditions of your yard, such as sunny and shady spots, slopes and flat areas. This tip will come in handy especially during the hotter months when plants with higher watering needs require special attention.
  • Conserve - Another watering method is a drip irrigation system which delivers water slowly to the roots of plants through a network of valves and pipes. This type of system conserves water by providing slow, precise water application, and you'll end up with less runoff and evaporation from leaves and soil.

The most important things to remember when watering plants are to keep a schedule and regularly check on plants to make sure they're receiving an adequate amount.