Tips on watering properly

  • Sunday, June 1, 2014

What a difference a year makes! Last year, huge amounts of rain and this year too much rain at one time without a lot of consistent rain. This past week, I've been asked by several people, “How much water should I be putting on my yard each week?”

The quick answer is one inch of water per week, including rainfall. I look at one inch per week as a starting point and then adjust for other factors. These factors include soil type, wind exposure, slope in the yard, berms, heat and exposure to the sun.

A clay soil is going to hold more water for a longer period of time than a sandy soil. When watering a clay soil, if you put out too much water at once, it will begin to run off instead of penetrating the soil. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will help water penetrate clay better.

Water tends to pass through sandy soils quickly. If they receive too much water at once, the water tends to leach through the soil past where the plant roots can access it. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will give sandy soils better water holding capacity.

Wind exposure can also play a big part in how much to water. An oceanfront or lakefront lot with a constant breeze will require more water than a landlocked yard in the suburbs that is protected from wind.

Position of trees, fences, houses or other wind breaks can also affect wind exposure. If your yard is very windy, you will have to water more than a yard that is more protected from the wind.

Wetting agents and organic matter will give windy areas better water-holding capacity.

Depending on the elevation change in your yard, you could require more water. Some houses sit up on hills that slope down toward the road. These sloping yards require more water.

In the Lowcountry, this is less of a problem than an area located in the mountains or hills. Wetting agents and organic matter will give hilly areas better water-holding capacity and allow the water to penetrate the ground instead of running off into the road.

If you have a lot of landscape berms, be sure these areas are getting enough water. Many berms are made with landscape-grade fill dirt (i.e. sand) that dries out quickly. Being up on a hill, they have more exposure as well as slope, therefore they require more water. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will give these areas better water-holding capacity.

Just as we need to drink plenty of water, so do the plants and grass. Some areas near sidewalks and streets are getting cooked!

The soil-surface temperature is often well over 100 degrees. Give your trees, flowers and turf a drink. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will give hot soils better water-holding capacity.

Exposure to the sun also affects the amount of water needed by a yard. If your yard is shaded by a neighbor's house or trees, it will require less water than if it is in the wide-open sun.

Different areas of the same yard will require different amounts of water based on the exposure to the sun. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will give exposed soils better water-holding capacity.

Always try to water early in the morning so your landscape does not stay wet too long and encourage fungus.

Turf gets wet at night through guttation and dew. By watering early in the morning (3-7 a.m.), you are not extending that wet period.

If you water at 9 a.m. and the grass has been wet all night, you could be giving disease the opportunity (moisture) it needs to flourish. Wetting agents (Possum's Wetting Agent with Biostimulants) and organic matter (Cotton Burr Compost) will give your soils better water-holding capacity and you will be able to reduce your watering and your water bill (and usually your fungicide bill as well).

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.


Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum's Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum's has three locations: 481 Long Point Rd in Mount Pleasant (843-971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (843-760-2600), or 606 Dupont Road, in Charleston (843-766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum's location, or visit us at www.possumsupply.com. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24/7 at www.possumsupply.com.

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