Water is an important resource in Western Colorado. As homeowners, we also find it important to have a yard that looks nice and is appealing to our outdoor living. Irrigation Providers of the Grand Valley are pleased to provide information on how you can keep your lawn looking green as well as helping to maintain your lateral while we are in the growing season.
Only you can determine the water needs of your landscape and how long you must irrigate each of the different areas of your yard. Recommendations from your landscaping firm, nursery, or other professional should be considered, but in the final analysis, you must use personal observations. Each type of vegetation has different water needs. This section outlines some important concepts and provides some basic tips about how to make sure you’re on track as you learn about your yard and its watering needs.
The Tri River Area Cooperative Extension website has the following suggestions for lawn care:
Water deeply, but only as needed. Avoid shallow, frequent watering. The frequency of irrigation of turf areas should be based on the condition of the grass. When turf grass requires water, it will:
- Turn darker than normal (as though a shadow is cast on the lawn)
- Turn blue-gray
- Not spring back when walked on (depressions left by footprints do not bounce back)
- Prevent the blade of a screwdriver or other such implement from penetrating into the soil any deeper than two inches.
These symptoms can appear in patches or over the complete turf area. When only small areas exhibit stress, water only those areas that need to be irrigated. If possible, adjust sprinklers or sprayers to increase coverage on these dry areas. If that doesn’t work, consider adding sprinkler sprayer units and then adjust all units on the system using catch cans to insure all units are delivering near equal volumes of water.
Watering the complete lawn when only a small area requires water, or watering too frequently, results in shallow roots, increased susceptibility to drought (especially during July and August), and increased susceptibility to Melting-out Disease (Leaf-spot Disease). Watering the lawn on a frequent, shallow basis results in death of the deep roots and increases the need to water. In some instances, you may need to water daily or every other day.
This is especially true if the soil is very sandy because it dries out quickly due to its limited water holding capacity. Water at night to reduce water loss from evaporation. Watering during the heat of the day results in excessive evaporation. Watering at night reduces problems with turf diseases and reduces the amount of water loss from evaporation, making the irrigation more efficient.
- The most efficient and ideal time to irrigate turf grass is between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M.
- Water in calm weather rather than windy weather
- Aerate the lawn several times a year
- Inspect irrigation systems, hoses and sprinklers
- Check the amount of water applied and the depth of water penetration
- Delay watering in the spring
- Prevent weeds from taking over drought-stressed turf areas
- Avoid using manure as topdressing on lawns
- Refer to a soil test to determine what nutrients are necessary
Colorado State University Extension
Lawn Irrigation Self Audit (LISA)
® Photo Credit Lawn Irrigation Self Audit
Arid climates like we have in Colorado require us to learn more about our lawns and how to water them. You can use the LISA toolkit to help you use your water more efficiently when irrigating your lawn. Landscape irrigation audits have been around for several years, however professional audits can be costly. For this reason, Colorado State University Extension developed the LISA toolkit for homeowners to take action against irrigation practices that can lead to over or under watering of lawns. The LISA toolkit has all the necessary tools you will need to measure the water application rates for your lawn irrigation system at home. The toolkit is designed to be used for lawns that are irrigated using sprinkler systems. Please visit www.lisa-audit.colostate.edu to access additional resources or turn your lawn irrigation data into a customized irrigation schedule.
Lawn Irrigation Self Audit (LISA) has been designed by a statewide team of CSU Horticulture and Water Resource experts with the goals of:
- Maximizing wise use of urban water
- Improving lawn health
- Less time and money invested in lawn maintenance
LISA kits can be leased from your local Extension office
Mesa County Extension Department 5028, PO Box 20,000 Grand Junction CO 81502-5001
Grand Junction CO 81502-5001 Work Phone: (970) 244-1834