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How To Drought-Proof Your Lawn


If you're watering your lawn at all, there's a good chance you're watering it too much.

That's the take-away from a drought workshop in Folsom for landscaping professionals sponsored by the Department of Water Resources and the University of California.

Tom Noonan, a water management specialist for Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Products, says calibrating sprinklers can be a complicated science. But the bottom line is to avoid run-off and overspray.

To do that, water often and for short intervals.

If you have fan sprinklers, Noonan says you shouldn't let them run for more than four minutes at a time, otherwise the water will overwhelm Sacramento's clay soils and snake down your sidewalk.

Program your irrigation system to soak the soil in short bursts throughout the night.

"It is never appropriate to water during the day,” says Noonan. "And people have the misconception that, 'Oh it's hot and windy out here and I need to dose my plant material.' But in truth probably at least 70 to 80 percent of that water got evaporated."

If you live within the Sacramento city limits you can only water your lawn or your vegetable beds two days a week. Drip irrigation is permitted anytime. It's illegal to allow excess water to run off from residential or commercial properties.

Noonan suggests prioritizing water for edibles and trees, rather than your lawn. Brown grass will come back after the drought, but fruit trees need continuing attention even during dry times.

More information is available through the California Center for Urban Horticulture on how to schedule irrigation.

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