Quick tips on effective watering

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Watering tips for that (green or golden) summer landscape


When it’s hot out there, it’s important to stay hydrated — but no matter the aesthetic goal, your lawn doesn’t need water every day like you do.
Every yard and its watering system differ, and each yard’s watering needs depend on a number of factors, like soil type, plant species, sunlight exposure, and the homeowner’s preferences.
You always have the option to water or not to water your yard, but if you chose to, here are a few simple tips for efficient watering:

Don’t water every day — especially if you want a sharp, green lawn. 
Daily watering results in shallow-rooted plants, which struggle to retain water during dry periods. This puts their health at risk, as they strain to soak up necessary minerals and lack the air and water for proper root growth.
Plus, reducing the amount of water you use to irrigate may lower your water bill.

Instead, water deeply and infrequently — likely two or three times a week should do it. This causes grass roots to grow further down, seeking water, which helps them survive in dry weather. 
If you have an automatic irrigation system with a newer controller, use the “cycle and soak” features and let that water settle in. This also prevents water waste by decreasing runoff. 
Otherwise, dragging a hose around will do. Choose a sprinkler that covers your landscape with large water drops, rather than one that sends mist into the air. Just remember to set a timer so you don’t forget the water’s running (and to prevent overwatering).

Water in the morning or evenings — and avoid water loss due to evaporation.
About 30 percent or more of water dispersed during the heat of the day vaporizes and is lost to the atmosphere.
Watering before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. can help conserve water and might help lower your water bill.

Don’t drown the yard — some plants don’t need water at all, like many shrubs.
If a shrub has been there for a year or two, it has an established root system. At that point, it’ll last the summer without special attention.
Unless you see wilting or yellow and brown leaves, they’re fine.
If you let the lawn go golden in the summer, remember a dormant lawn still needs water about once a month to survive.

Water evenly to avoid discoloring — pet urine and overwatering can also make your grass yellow. 
In the case of an overwatered lawn, simply leave it alone and let it dry out. 
Individual plant needs determine when to water. Here’s a helpful hint: If you walk on your lawn and your footprint stays flat, you need to water. 

Remember to get a backflow inspection — an annual state-required assessment for all with an in-ground, automatic irrigation system.
A backflow device prevents potentially contaminated water from going back into the drinking water supply.
Sammamish Plateau Water does not perform this inspection, but we do maintain a list of local and certified professionals. To learn more about this requirement or to view the list of backflow assembly testers, visit our “Cross Connections and Backflow Prevention”  page.