Deep and Infrequent Watering
June in Montana is magic. The hills are green, rivers are raging and wildflowers are popping. You couldn’t give me a free all expenses paid trip anywhere else on this planet that I would trade for a June in Montana.
That said, and I feel bad even bringing this up, this green spell won’t last. It has been exceptionally rainy and cool this spring, but July and August are on their way and with them come hotter temps and less precipitation. If you want to maintain a healthy lawn and build a deep root system, you are going to want to mow tall and optimize your sprinkler system to water deeply and infrequently before you see brown spots from coverage issues or weak spots from shallow root systems.
The best way to tell how much water your system is putting on the ground is to use a rain gauge. If you need rain gauges, here is a link to affordable ones that are a good height for auditing sprinkler systems.
We highly recommend following the watering PDF tips and checking your system’s output with sprinkler gauges. You can make a handy chart like this, which our #clientofthemonth sent us after doing her own sprinkler output check. You will want to make sure the Adjusted Output column matches up with the recommend inches for that micro-climate. You can find that number on this PDF.
Keep in mind that no system is going to be perfect and not every lawn is on soil that this will allow deep roots in one season. We see many new homes that have sod lawns laid on construction hard-pan. If this is your situation, it is unfortunate that those corners were cut. You will have to do your best to water deeply and infrequently. There may not be enough soil for .6 inches of water in a sunny spot. You may have to water a little less and an extra day a week. Over time, good biology and strong root systems can begin to break down that hard-pan, but it will take years.
If you want to hear more about watering, check out pages 20-21 of At Home Southwest Montana Spring edition. Our favorite gal Coda gets some quality time with a very happy client!