Tips: Be water smart when watering lawns

With the arrival of summer, it is time to focus on water conservation and prudent water practices. Long Island American Water offers these water smart tips for watering lawns.

"As a purveyor we are responsible to promote prudent water usage practices to our customers," said Walter Lynch, Long Island American Water President. "Taking a few small steps can make a big difference when it comes to conserving our water supply."

The following are recommended tips:

  • Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. It would be best for any area, if automated sprinkler system timers were set to start and run between 3 am and 6 am. Watering this early helps reduce system demand during peak periods and results in deeper watering that is better for the lawn and better for sprinkler system performance.

  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so that you are only watering your lawn and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

  • Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

  • Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.

  • Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.

  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.

  • Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.

  • Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good shape.

  • Don't water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don't need water.

  • When watering grass on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff.

  • Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.

  • Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.

  • Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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