Janet Laminack: Learn how to water during drier times

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Denton County received plenty of rainfall last week, but soon it’ll be time to think about watering our trees, lawns and landscapes again. Always remember that our irrigation systems supplement the rain, not the other way around.

Lawns need an inch of water a week — preferably all in one day so the water will infiltrate to a depth of 6 inches, creating a healthier root system.

A little bit of water every day does not create a strong root system. Water restrictions that allow “twice a week” watering are for your convenience, not because your lawn needs it.

The best way to make sure your sprinklers are putting out an inch of water is to measure it with a rain gauge or a small, smooth-sided can. In our clay soils, we often need to run a cycle and then allow the water to soak in to prevent runoff. Space out the cycles, but try to get all the irrigation done the same day so that you’ll get a deep watering.

Trees need to be watered differently than a lawn. They prefer infrequent, deep watering. Established trees that are well suited to our area may not need to be watered yet, but immature trees will probably need a drink. On the main page of www.dcmga.com, there’s a link to a Texas Forest Service video on how to water trees properly. It’s short and easy to understand.

And the final portion of the landscape that needs to be watered are the shrub and perennial beds and the foundation of your house. The most efficient way to water is drip irrigation because no water is lost in evaporation but all the water is put only where it needs to be.

Drip irrigation can be retrofitted easily to existing sprinkler systems. You can learn how to do this at a free class “Drip Irrigation DIY” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Flower Mound Public Library, 3030 Broadmoor St. The class will be taught by Patrick Dickinson, urban water program coordinator for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Dallas.

Converting your spray heads to drip can save you money by using less water for your bed areas. This class will also cover how to use drip irrigation to water your foundation properly. To sign up for the class or for more information, call 972-874-6165.

Give us a call at 940-349-2892 or email us at master.gardener@dentoncounty.com with your gardening and landscape woes. We are here to help.

JANET LAMINACK is the horticulture county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2883 or jelaminack@ag.tamu.edu.


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