Call it being naïve or just completely clueless, but when I fell in love with the extremely large yard of my new house I never thought about the cost and effort of keeping the grass alive; especially in Virginia’s summer weather with 100 degree heat and no rain. Where I’m from, the sunny & apparently abnormally rainy state of Florida, you don’t have to worry very much about watering because it rains almost every afternoon like clockwork plus they have those nasty little things known as hurricanes and tropical storms to keep the grass well hydrated.
Well, my ignorance has now led to most of my yard consisting of dead spots and sad looking trees…not good! I researched what I should have been doing to keep my newly purchased sod alive and according to Lowes, this is what should be done:
- Observe local restrictions on water use
- Pay extra attention to newly planted lawns, trees and shrubs. Even if they are considered drought tolerant, they will need steady watering for one to two years to become established.
- Retain soil moisture levels by using mulch around trees, flowers and shrubs. Keep weeds away from planting beds, not only are they an annoying eyesore, they steal essential moisture and nutrients.
- Water only in the early morning to ensure vaporization is minimized. If at all possible, wait to water on a day that isn’t windy.
- Do not follow a consistent watering schedule. By mixing up the days you water, you are able to more closely mimic nature’s nonexistent raining pattern.
- Use a drip line to water trees and large shrubs and soaker hoses for smaller plants and place at the base of the plant for the best growth.
- Water deeply and allow soil to dry slightly between watering times to promote root growth. Light showers of water will evaporate before the water is able to saturate the soil where it’s needed the most.
- Research your type of grass to find out the recommended height and mow accordingly. Cutting the grass too short can stress it out and letting it grow to the height of your knees can cause disease.
- Aerate the grass in order to increase the soil’s water absorption.
- Eliminate places prone to erosion. It is a waste of water and doesn’t help the life of your yard.
- And finally, if you’re spending money to water, place the sprinklers in the optimum location. There is no need to water cement!
Hopefully this information will keep you from making the soon-to-be expensive mistake I made.