To increase lawn watering efficiency during the summer follow these three easy tips:

  • Mow high: Raise the mower to three inches
  • Water deep: Use only one inch of water per week
  • Increase soil depth to minimum six inches

MOW HIGH: Raise the lawnmower blade to three inches

Setting your lawn mower to a high blade height (3 inches or 7.5 cm is the recommended height) will allow the green parts of your grass to grow longer. Letting the grass grow longer is advantageous because:

  • less evaporation occurs as longer grass shades the soil
  • longer grass provides continuous nourishment to the roots
  • the lawn holds more moisture
  • longer grass inhibits the growth of weeds

WATER DEEP: Use only one inch of water per week

Evapotranspiration is the total loss of water through evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation accounts for the loss of water to the atmosphere from the soil or plant surface. Transpiration accounts for the loss of water from the movement of the water within the plant. The evapotranspiration rate for Campbell River is 0.20 inches per day. This means that grass in this area is not capable of absorbing any more than one inch per week. Watering in the morning and evening also prevents the loss of water due to evaporation. 

How would I measure that amount?

Place a rain gauge or small can (size of a fish tin) on your lawn. Once the can or gauge is full you’ll know you have sprinkled enough.
Call the Water Wise Hotline at 250-203-2316 or email water.wise@campbellriver.ca for a free rain gauge. Available while supplies last. 

INCREASE SOIL DEPTH

Soil depth is six inches or more helps maintain healthy and strong grass. If soil depth is less than six inches add a good quality soil or compost in spring and fall.

More Tips

iStock-530923670Sprinklers – An automatic sprinkler system is a great way to conserve water if used properly. Make sure to routinely check and service your automatic system by checking timer settings and checking for leaks. Use sprinklers that keep water close to the ground rather than send large clouds of mist into the air and check for a uniform distribution of the water. Also, install a rain sensor to ensure that the sprinkler isn’t on while it is raining.

Plant pots – Nonporous pots and containers are the most efficient in terms of water retention. Make a point of using larger pots, as they take much longer to dry out, keeping plant roots cool and preventing evaporation.

Pools – Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation and consider getting a water saving pool filter.

Car Washing – Consider using a commercial car wash as these businesses have a drainage system that appropriately disposes of the waste water and soap. If you wash your car at home, use a hose with an automatic shut-off, or better yet just use a bucket of water. To recycle this water and prevent it from entering the storm drain, and eventually the ocean, consider washing your car on your lawn.

Trees and Shrubs – Watering trees right around the trunk can wash away soil and leave the tree vulnerable to pests and disease. Instead of watering the tree trunks, water the drip line of the trees (the area directly below the branches and foliage). This area has the highest concentration of roots and will absorb more water.

Hoses – Control the flow of your hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.

Xeriscaping – This landscaping technique minimizes the need for supplemental irrigation by primarily using drought-resistant native plants, cacti and succulents. Typically, xeriscaping is very low maintenance. Consider replacing your lawn with a dynamic landscape of native shrubs, flowers, trees or a patio area.

Naturescaping – This landscaping technique uses only drought-resistant native plant species for landscaping. Native plants have adapted to local weather patterns, tolerating high levels of rain in the winter and high heat in the summer, making them excellent candidates for home and garden landscaping. Along with conserving water, naturescaping reduces the need for pesticides and increases habitat for local fauna, such as birds and pollinators.

Lawn Care – Over time soil becomes compacted and causes a reduction in the air spaces around the soil particles, making it hard for water to penetrate the soil. Aerate your lawn at least once a year, preferably in early summer or early autumn in order to avoid soil compaction. Mulch can serve many benefits to your lawn including moisture retention, weed reduction, nutrient provisions and protective barrier. When mowing, leave the grass clipping behind to receive all these benefits.

Spread grass clippings or other mulch materials around the base of plants and shrubs. Applying organic matter (such as ground bark, sawdust or leaves) to soil increases its ability to hold water, and improves nutrient content. Mulch also prevents soil erosion and discourages the growth of weeds.

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