Grass Species, Lawn Care, & Soil Health

Help! Why Has My Lawn Gone Brown?

A lot of grasses go dormant and turn brown in summer heat, and the past few summers were scorchers.  Healthy turf can make it through such conditions with minimal irrigation, and still bounce back in the fall. And if your turf isn’t healthy? Fall is the ideal time to revamp your lawn so start making plans now. Keep reading this page to learn how to remake your yard as a hardy survivor of future hot spells. 

Water Wise Irrigation

Residential outdoor water use across the United States accounts for nearly 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation.

Timing is Everything!

Watering when the sun is low and avoiding when the sun is hot to reduce evaporation of the water before it can be enjoyed by plants. 

For more information on when to water and watering tips, check out the WaterSense website

It is Time for Sprinkler Spruce Up!

Before you ramp up your watering, be sure to spruce up your irrigation system. System maintenance can help save you a lot of money and water! Cracks in pipes can lead to costly leaks, and broken sprinkler heads can waste water and money. You could be losing up to 25,000 gallons of water and $280 over a six-month irrigation season!

Now is the perfect time to spruce up your irrigation system. To get started, follow these four simple steps - Inspect, Connect, Direct, and Select!

  1. Inspect: Check your system for clogged, broken, or missing sprinkler heads. Better yet, go with a pro - find an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled irrigation program to do the work for you!
  2. Connect: Examine points where the sprinkler heads connect to pipes/hoses. If water is pooling in your landscape or you have large soggy areas, you could have a leak in your system. A leak as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen (1/32 of an inch) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  3. Direct: Are you watering the driveway, house, or sidewalk instead of your yard? Redirect sprinklers to apply water only to the landscape.
  4. Select: An improperly scheduled irrigation controller can waste a lot of water and money. Update your system’s schedule with the seasons, or select a WaterSense labeled controller to take the guesswork out of scheduling.

WaterSense Sprinkler Spruce Up Infographic telling you to inspect sprinklers, select a WaterSense la

Summer Watering

It take 27,154 gallons of water to cover an area of 1 acre with 1" of water. That means even if you’re watering just the recommended amount, you’re still using over 108,000 gallons of water a month on your lawn!

Remember automatic irrigation systems can be a real water saver (but also can be a huge water waster when not set up appropriately) (PDF)

Find general values for the amount typically needed by different types of established plants. New plants will need more water. If you are installing your plants at the same time as your irrigation system, and your system is set high for those new plants, you must reset it after they are established to avoid a complete and ongoing waste of water.                                   

 Type of Plant Water Needed (inches per week)
 Shrub0.25 to  0.75 
 Ground cover 0.00 to 0.50
 Annuals 0.50 to 2.00
 Trees 5 gallons per caliper inch
 Transplanted Trees 10 gallons per caliper inch
 Native Plants0.00 to 0.50 
 Asphalt None!

Information provided by the Irrigation Association. Always follow suggested watering instructions specific to your plant type. 

Looking for Irrigation Services?

Check out the WaterSense certified pros on the WaterSense website. These professionals are certified through the WaterSense program as being knowledgeable in water efficiency irrigation techniques and technologies.

Helpful Resources:

Helpful Documents on Topics Related to Lawns and Soils