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Measuring Lawn Water

Measuring Lawn Water

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Measuring turf water

The key to conserving water and keeping your lawn looking good is to determine how much water is applied too the lawn each week. This may seem simple to do but very few people understand how to do this.

The problem with measuring water is that most people want to measure in time, not amounts. To illustrate the fallacy of this, imagine going into a fast food restaurant and asking for ten minutes of your favorite soft drink. The person behind the counter will give you a blank stare and probably call for the manager and call your sanity into question.

If you try to do watering in time and not quantify the amount you are going to waste water. To avoid this mistake measure the amount of water you apply in a given, measured amount of time.

Get six straight-sided gallon cans from a restaurant or school lunchroom. Do not use tuna fish cans or mugs because they are too shallow and much of the water will bounce out. Place you cans across the lawn with some close to the heads and others further away. Turn the sprinklers on for exactly thirty minutes and then measure the amount of water you collect in each can. Average the amounts for your water application measurements

If you collect one half inch of water, and the recommended water application is one and one half inch then you know your system must run for 90 minutes to get the required amount of water on your lawn.

It is best to water your lawn deeply and infrequently. If possible apply all of the water needed by your turf in one application each week rather than light frequent applications each day. The water will soak deeper, less will be lost to evaporation and your turf will be much healthier.

The amount of water in each should be very similar. If it is not, the sprinkler system is not functioning properly and need to be adjusted or heads replaced. In extreme cases you may need to replace part of the system because of extreme water pressure problems.

To find the amount of water that your lawn need each week check the following web sites at

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