July is traditionally the month of peak water demand for lawns, gardens and landscapes and is also recognized as Smart Irrigation Month.
With temperatures expected to soar in the coming weeks, the city of Newport Beach urges residents to get the most out of every gallon of water used outdoors and to conserve as much water as possible.
1. Water infrequently, deeply and thoroughly - Most lawns need about 3/4 to 1 inch of water once per week, or once every two weeks when the weather cools. Infrequent but deep watering will encourage deep rooting, healthier and hardier plants with a greater tolerance for drought.
2. Water at the right time of day - Water early in the day, especially in warmer weather, when evaporation rates are lowest.
3. Watch your lawn rather than a calendar - Your lawn needs watering when:
- Grass blades are folded in half
- Grass blades are blue-gray
- Your footprint remains on the lawn
- If water restrictions are in effect, adapt your watering to fit the restrictions.
4. Too much water can hurt plants - over-watering creates shallow roots, making plants more vulnerable to disease and pests, as well as drought.
5. Drip or micro-irrigation systems save water - These systems deliver water to the root of plants, and much less is lost to the atmosphere.
6. Mulching - Adding mulch helps to keep water in the soil around plants. At least two inches is suggested around shrubs, trees, annuals and vegetable and flower gardens.
7. Remove Weeds; Add Native Plants - Weeds or other unwanted plants use water. Removing them means more water for the plants you want. Native plants are adapted to our rainy and dry seasons, and offer habitat to area wildlife.
8. Install a rain sensor - This recognizes when nature brings the water your lawn needs, and shuts off automatic sprinklers.
9. Adjust your lawnmower blades - Most lawns are healthiest when blades are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long. Longer blades shade the soil, and keep in water.
10. Keep lawnmower blades sharp - Clean, sharp cuts cause less trauma to grass blades, making the grass more resistant to disease.