Water Your Landscape the Right Way

Many a landscape grows well without benefit of irrigation but rare is the garden, lawn or landscape that does not respond gloriously to some extra watering.
Then, too, extra watering is necessary because seldom does a summer pass without a dry spell that lasts from three to four weeks.

insufficient water stunts plant growth, delays maturity and reduces yield and table quality especially of such vegetables as lettuce, celery, spinach and the root crops where succulence is so important.

They tell us that water in soil is good to the last drop; that the moisture content of soil can sink to a low level before it ceases to be available to plants. True, but this is no excuse for withholding water too long.

watering lawn efficiently with an irrigation system
It simply suggests that thorough soaking rather than frequent sprinkling does the job best with a saving of both labor and water.

Rules are unnecessary for those who have experience in watering the landscape or garden properly, but they’re well worth observing until enough of such experience is gained.

Some Soils Demand More

Although some soils need more, generally speaking an inch of rain a week is about the right amount for and garden, landscape or lawn. To make sure the garden is getting that, measure the rainfall by setting out a rain gauge made from and old coffee can.

You will find an inch of rain is a gentle half day affair. An inch an hour is a very heavy rainfall and is usually accompanied by run-off.

Sandy and gravelly soils take water more readily, become saturated to the drainage point more quickly and, later, lose moisture more rapidly than silty, loamy or clayey soils.

Most soils get along with two inches one week and none the next but if three weeks go by without rain, the landscape and lawn (we’ll assume the garden has been watered) had better be watered particularly if plants are large, skies clear and winds fresh.

If you are in the habit of getting out the hose each evening, screwing the nozzle to a fine sprinkle and holding it for fifteen minutes, it’s time to reform.

You won’t last long at the job and neither will your garden for you will only succeed in wetting the surface. By ten the next morning most of the water will have evaporated.

Do it Weekly!

The thing to do is to give your landscape an inch of water and then quit for a week. If the garden is nearly level, lay the hose in the row and let it run. A little hoe work will allow the water to flow through to the end of the row and to seep evenly through the entire length of the line.

If the garden is not level, make little baffles of earth and then water one spot at a time. Next year follow the contours of the land when laying out the rows.

Measure an Inch

To get an idea how long it takes to put an inch of water on a square yard of soil, note how long it takes your hose to fill a 10-quart pail. You won’t need a calculator.

An inch of water on a square yard is just under 5 1/2 gallons. Surprised? Bet you thought you were very faithful and liberal when you gave your garden no more than one-quarter of an inch. An inch on a 25 by 50 foot area means 780 gallons of water.

Besides the hose there are other ways to apply water. The rotary head sprinklers give rather an even coverage over the circles. But, circles overlap for any complete coverage and this is not so easy to do in small gardens. Cheaper whirligigs are not so efficient but their shortcomings may be overcome if they are moved frequently.

How Fast to Water by Sprinkling?

No faster than the ground can drink it up, and certainly not so fast that little streams are started. To avoid rivulets, present day sprinkler heads move slowly to let the water soak in before the next deluge arrives.

A sandy soil takes an inch of water in two hours. Heavier soils soak up water slower. Here again common sense and experience must guide you. Unless a soil is very clayey, crusting is not a serious problem. The best cure for such soil is to build it up by organic matter.

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