by Rick Delgado
on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 at 10:41am.
With summer just around the corner, here are some tips to help conserve water in Sacramento, while maintaining a beautiful lawn and garden.
Keep in mind that in Sacramento, lawns can only get watered twice a week during daylight savings time (March 13-November 6, 2016), and only before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Odd numbered homes water on Tuesday and/or Saturday, while even numbered homes are scheduled for Wednesday and/or Sunday.
Now when it comes to keeping your lawn lush and green, you don't need that much water. In fact, turf grasses need only about 3/4" - 1" of water a week to stay green and keep growing. An inch of water will soak down through about 6 inches of soil. In terms of how long to keep the sprinkler or irrigation turned on, get tuna can and place it on your lawn. Then measure how much water is in it after 15 minutes. Generally 30 minutes should produce at least a half inch of water from most sprinkler systems.
But in peak summer, when temperatures are highest, you should allow lawns to naturally slow down in growth during that extreme heat. The grass will stay green, but just won't grow as fast if you use a minimal amount of water. And keep in mind that watering in the evening is best when it's super hot out, as there will be far less evaporation overnight. If you water your lawn during the day, you'll lose 20-25% of it due to evaporation from the heat and wind.
Another key is how you mow the lawn. Mow it at a higher than normal height (set your mower for 2-3 inches) and don't use a high nitrogen fertilizer. Mowing at more height helps cut down the grass growth rate while protecting it from sunburn. It also promotes deeper root growth, shades the soil while reducing the number of weeds you'll have popping up - who wants to spend time weeding in the summer?
It's a good idea to get a timer for your sprinkler, that way if you forget to turn it off, you won't waste potentially hours and hours of precious water. Most do-it-yourself stores like Home Depot sell sprinkler timers.
Lastly, it goes without saying, but don't let the water from your sprinkler hit the driveway or sidewalk. This is the biggest waste of water, yet so often you'll see it happening where more water is hitting the sidewalk than the lawn or garden.