The Q&A Archives: When to water the lawn and shrubs

Question: We have been watering our lawn and shrubs at 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. with our sprinkler system . Still our lawn is not very green anymore and the leaves of our shrubs and trees are shriveling up at the tips . We have been told not to water at night anymore . Why ? And will our garden still get enough water if we omly water in the morning ?

Answer: Watering at night isn't good, from a plant's point of view. When foliage remains wet all night long it becomes more susceptible to fungal diseases. Watering in the morning gives the leaves a chance to dry out before nightfall. Early morning watering is best for this reason. Most landscape trees and shrubs will do well on one inch of water per week. That means watering deeply, but not as often as you are watering now. Twice a week should be just right in your hot summer climate. Apply water slowly so it has a chance to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. This will encourage deep rooting, making both grass and shrubs more drought tolerant and less dependent on frequent waterings. To see how long it takes to apply an inch of water, set some tuna or cat food cans out in the lawn and garden area and turn on the sprinklers for 15 minutes. Then check the level of water in the cans. The goal is one-inch. Keep turning on the sprinkler and checking the water levels and keeping track of the time until you know how long it will take to get an inch of water on your lawn. That's how long you'll need to run your sprinkler system. If your soil doesn't absorb the water and it begins to run off before you've applied an inch of water you may have to run the sprinklers for 15 minutes. Turn them off for a half hour then turn them back on again for 15 minutes. This way the water can be absorbed into the soil.

Hope this answers all your questions.

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