Lawns that are irrigated only when they need it develop deep, healthy roots that help them withstand drought stress and make them less susceptible to pests and diseases. Your Florida lawn doesn’t require as much water as you think! By planning your irrigation based on the its needs — rather than a pre-set schedule — you can have a healthier, better-looking lawn and make every drop count.
DON’T JUST SET IT AND FORGET IT… Automatic irrigation systems are a great tool when used properly. However, setting the sprinklers to turn on automatically — whether your landscape needs it or not — can waste water and cause lawn problems. Turn it off or skip every other week during Florida’s cooler months and during Florida’s summer rainy season.
LET YOUR LAWN TELL YOU WHEN IT NEEDS WATER… Turn on your sprinklers only when your lawn shows signs of needing water — a grayish color, folded leaf blades and footprints that remain for several minutes. When you do irrigate, set sprinklers to provide about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of water per zone.
RISE AND SHINE AND WATER YOUR LAWN… Irrigate early in the day, preferably just before sunrise. This helps minimize evaporation loss and limits the time the lawn is wet, which reduces the potential for disease.
GET A RAIN GAUGE… A rain gauge is a simple tool to use when deciding when to water. If 1/2 inch or more rain has recently fallen, empty the gauge, leave your controller off and delay the next watering. Moisture sensors also can be installed to work with existing automatic systems for more optimal irrigation timing.
MOW SMART… A good rule of thumb is not to cut more than one-third the height at any one time. Leave clippings on the lawn and sweep clippings back onto the grass from sidewalks and driveways. These clippings help trap moisture and release nutrients into the soil.