Summer is here and that means so is the heat. We get a lot of people wanting to reduce wasted water, which is awesome. We have five easy water saving tips for you. Don't be nervous about depriving your much-loved plants and potentially causing them harm. Our top 5 tips to help save water will have both your water bill and your plants happy.
There are many small adjustments that add up to significant progress for water conservation. Some big tasks like installing a drip system may be more of a long-term goal project. However, there are also many small things you can do today to make a large difference in saving water.
Helping our water supply while saving money on your water bill…that's the goal. AND, extra bonus, you'll be giving your plants the best possible support. Many of these recommendations are actually the best thing for your plants. That’s like winning the plant lottery and water lottery at the same time! Here are our top 5 ways to help you save water.
Water your lawn early in the morning, between 4-7am. When we water lawns in the middle of the day, the majority of that water goes straight into the air and evaporates before it ever hits your lawn. Many sprinkler heads turn water into tiny drops and those tiny drops evaporate fast in the heat.
When you water before the air is hot more of the water will actually reach the lawn, and therefore the roots, where the water is needed. The result, less time is needed to water and therefore less water is used (and wasted). For more lawn specific ideas, check our last blog post, Summer Lawn Tips.
Your sprinkler system can be adjusted to work smarter. You can make quick changes to your sprinkler system like correct where the heads spray, adjust clocks throughout the year as seasons change and make sure none of the lines are broken. These quick changes will save hundreds of gallons of water in one season. The simple things can really add up! Monitoring your sprinkler system is the simplest way to start.
A great resource for other sprinkler related recommendations to reduce water waste can be found at scienTurfic Sod.
Water at the base of your trees, shrubs, and perennials to save water. Spraying the leaves and trunks can actually cause damage in the heat. Plus, it doesn’t solve the problem of the water reaching the roots where it is needed.
It is extremely important to deep soak new plants during their establishment phase. To deep soak new plants, turn your hose to a very slow trickle. Place the hose about 4-6” from the base of the stem or trunk of your new plant. The length of watering time needed depends on the size of the root ball. For smaller 1-5 gallon size plants, 10-15 minutes twice a week should be sufficient. For larger trees and shrubs, we recommend 10 minutes per inch caliper on the tree (i.e. a large 4” caliper tree requires 40 minutes of soaking).
Established plants are plants that have been in your landscape for a year or more. Two years or more for larger trees. We recommend installing a drip system or micro-emitter. The benefit of these systems is there is zero water waste. All of the water is put directly into the soil where it is needed. These systems emit water at such a slow rate that the water absorbs deeper and deeper into the soil. Achieving our ultimate goal, getting the water to those grounding roots.
This might seem obvious, but if your soil is still wet from previous watering it likely can wait another day or two. This includes rain-storms. The recommended way to check if your soil is wet is what my grampa called “the finger test”. It is a very simple water saving test. Stick your finger in the soil up to your second knuckle. If you feel moisture, no need to water. This simple check will save you hundreds of gallons of water waste.
Clay soil holds more water, sandy soil dries faster. If you have more clay base, you do not need to water as often. Clay base soils do need to be watered deeper.
Sandy soil needs less watering at any given time. But it will need slightly more frequent watering. Knowing your soil type will save you water, time, money and hassle. And, your plants will thrive when you combine proper watering technique with the appropriate soil type.
There are loads more ways you can reduce, or even eliminate, water waste. looking for even more ideas to help save water? There are wonderful local resources available. Check out some of the following.
If you have any great tips that you don’t see, let us know! There are probably loads of great water-saving inventions out there we haven’t seen yet and would love to share. After all, when it comes to reducing water waste, we are all in it together.
Summer officially starts this weekend and, as promised, we're delivering our quarterly blog on lawns. You can have a lush green yard in Utah by following just a few simple steps each season. Utah summers are typically hot and dry which means we have a focus on water. Many people think that because we live in a dry area that lawns must be impossible to keep green. But this is not true!
Green lawns in Utah are as simple as one, two, three in the summer. Here are our top 3 tips for keeping lawns green during the summer in Utah.
You've probably heard it before but we're going to tell you again. The best way to water your lawn is deeply and infrequently. Because Utah can be such a dry climate we want to encourage your grass roots to grow deep. The way you do this is by watering one to three times a week. During the early summer months, we recommend watering 1" every five days or 1/2" every three days. As the weather warms you can gradually increase water. During July/August we recommend about 3/4″ every 3 days or 1/2″ every 2 days. Use your best judgment. If the heat kicks in early go ahead and up your watering amount.
We love this watering guide from the Conservation Garden Park. They give specific details on how much to water and how often for different soils and plants.
Not sure how much 1" of water is? Measure it! Take old soup cans or several of the same shape glasses and place them over your yard. Turn your sprinklers on for 10 minutes and then measure how much is in each glass. You may find that certain areas of your lawn get more water than others. You can adjust your sprinklers to even out the watering. This will also save you water! And who doesn't love to save water?
Finally, you want to water at the right time. Watering during the heat of the day means you will lose a good portion of the water to evaporation. In order to make sure that the majority of water you are using gets into the ground schedule your watering for before 9 AM or after 7 PM.
Did you know that cutting your grass too low or by too much can damage it? It's true! Short lawns can look great but you lose the natural protective barrier that a little extra height can give a lawn. We recommend keeping your grass cut between 2" to 3". This longer length allows for the roots to be protected. This will also help prevent water loss through evaporation.
Another bonus to keeping your grass a little longer is that you can help prevent weeds from growing. Weeds need sunlight to grow. The natural canopy of longer grass prevents sunlight from hitting the ground and can deter weeds from growing. This is not a full-proof plan. If you are having issues with weeds in your lawn you'll want to apply another layer of pre-emergent during the early summer.
So we've mentioned how tall your grass should be but we haven't told you how often to cut your grass in Utah. This is based on how quickly your grass is growing. Once the grass has matured (about 10 days after planting) it will normally grow about 2/3 cm per week (An inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters if you need help with the conversion like we did). You want to only cut about 1/3 of your grass length. Cutting more of the grass could shock it. You also want to cut frequently because of how grass keeps its pigment. Most of the green color of grass is concentrated on its new growth. Mowing your lawn semi-frequently means you will keep the bright fresh green showing.
Fertilizer will help keep your lawn green, healthy and growing. You want to fertilize your lawn every 30 to 90 days. We
recommend the first fertilizer of the year to happen by early April so your second treatment should be about July 4th.
Make sure your fertilizer is applied properly. A great time to fertilize is a couple of days after a rainstorm. If no rain is on the horizon then you can water a few days after you deep soak your lawn. On fertilization day make sure you apply the fertilizer evenly over the lawn. Once applied, lightly water your lawn. This second watering is important because it will remove the fertilizer from the grass blades and wash it onto the ground. Too much water will wash it all away. Just a light watering will do the job.
Be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn. With grass, too much of a good thing is definitely a bad thing. Too much fertilizer can burn your lawn.
We hope you have a great time enjoying your lawn this summer. If you are looking for any additional help our experts are available at the nursery every day.
We know, it's spring, and it's so easy to get caught up with all the beautiful spring flowers that add an instant pop of color to your yard. However, with a little bit of prep work on your lawn, you can have the perfect, lush green yard as a backdrop for your garden beds.
This may seem self-explanatory but the best way to start your lawn off for spring is by exposing it to the sun! Leftover winter debris can create problem areas on your yard and welcome bacteria and disease.
Let your lawn breathe. Aerating your lawn keeps the soil from compacting and gives the grass roots room to expand as they grow.
Sprinkler systems, just like AC and heating units have a tendency to break right when you need them the most. It's a good idea to check your sprinkler system for any weak spots or breaks that happened over the winter. A broken sprinkler system won't help your grass and you'll end up
wasting water. It's also a good idea to check where your sprinklers
are spraying. Try and keep the water off of driveways and sidewalks.
Late March / Early April is a good time to apply pre-emergent and fertilizer to your lawn. Pre-emergent will prevent perennial weeds like dandelions, morning glory and thistle from taking root in your lawn.
We love Fertilome Weed Out Pro Turf because it feeds the lawn, kills Dandelions and stops Crabgrass germination in one easy application.
The beautiful white blanket of snow that was here this winter may have left some brown spots on your lawn. Mid-April is the perfect time to over seed these brown spots in your lawn. If you are going to over seed you should not apply a pre-emergent.
Early springtime in Utah is a fairly wet season and nature will provide most of the water that your lawn needs. In general, you should not need to water your lawn in March and very little in April unless you are watering in fertilizer. If you think your lawn seems dry you can water every two weeks. A good test to see if your lawn is dry is to use a screwdriver to test your lawn. If the screwdriver comes out with a little soil attached it's good.
Grass tends to grow quickly in early spring and a good trim once a week will help your lawn focus it's energy on growing a strong root system. Well-sharpened lawnmower blades help make a clean cut of your lawn and prevent tearing of the blades and roots.
With these 7 tips for a lush green yard under your gardening belt, you should be well on your way to the summer-perfect green football lawn that we all love. Have a lawncare secret to share? We'd love to hear it! Join us on our Facebook page and share your top lawncare tips.
Updates, Sales, and Gardening Tips
Updates, Sales, and Gardening Tips