Watering the lawn can be a bit of a guessing game.  Under watering leads to brown spots and poor coverage that eventually fill in with weeds, while over watering, or daily watering, flush nutrients from the soil, increases thatch growth, and promotes a short root system.  Both extremes stress the lawn and even gardens or crops on a farm, making it more suitable to insect and disease damage. Ideally, you want to keep the top 6” of soil irrigated to promote a deep and healthy root system. More often than not, the run time needed to achieve this ideal is unknown when getting an irrigation system installation.   

This is where Iron County’s free Water Check program comes into play. A Water Check consists of a few simple sprinkler tests performed by a trained technician. From those tests, we can create a customized lawn watering schedule for you based on your lawn and sprinkler system.  Every systems distributes water a little differently. Having a water check done will take the guess work out of your watering routine.

After the water check is completed, you can use the Utah Division of Water Resources weekly lawn watering guide, available at slowtheflow.org.  This guide uses weather stations in our area to determine how frequently your lawn should be watered each week. Lawns require more water than any other landscape plant, but their water needs change throughout the year. Seasonal adjustment to your irrigation controller is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid over watering and promote a health lawn.

The weekly lawn watering guide provides watering recommendations for those with a traditional cool season lawn, like Kentucky Blue Grass or Tall Fescue, but those with water-wise alternatives can also benefit from this resource.  On average, water-wise ground covers need about a third of the water required by Kentucky Blue grass. If the weekly lawn watering guide is suggesting three watering per week, your water-wise alternatives will only need one.

The water check program is a partnership between Iron County, USU Extension, and the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District.  Give us a call and we’ll create a watering schedule tailored to your landscape, 435-865-9901.

Candace Schaible
USU Extension Horticulturist