Saving Water Outdoors in the Summer

Summertime activities such as lawn watering, create the peak water use season. The rule of water supply is to build the system with enough capacity to meet the highest demand you’d expect. The highest demand that occurs in summer is 50% to 80% higher than the average demand throughout the year, primarily due to lawn
watering. In order to avoid a disruption of water supply in summer, we must keep a large supply of water on hand, even though we only need it for a few days in the summer. You can help by adopting the practices detailed below.

  •  Efficient Lawn Watering 
  •  Odd-Even Day Lawn Watering 
  •  Grasscycling U Fertilizing 
  •  Sprinkler timers 
  • Healthy Lawn Care

Efficient Lawn Watering
Grass in our climate, requires only 2.5 cm. or 1" of water per week, including rainfall to remain healthy. Yet, lawn watering consumes a significant portion of the water we supply. Too much water or fertilizer can cause your lawn to grow beyond the limits of the soil. It can also lead to shallow roots and a lawn unable to cope with hot dry weather. Remember, just 2.5 and your lawn will THRIVE!

Odd-Even Day Lawn Watering

The City’s Outside Water Use Program prescribes an alternate day lawn watering schedule. The Program is designed so that residents who reside at odd numbered addresses can water their lawns on odd numbered days. Likewise, those who reside at even numbered addresses can water their lawns on even numbered days. ("Odd” and "even” days refer to the calendar date, not the day of the week.) In all cases, lawn watering is permitted only between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., when temperatures are generally cooler and the ground retains moisture most easily

Grasscycling is an easy way to feed your lawn. It saves you time, and helps the Environment. The clippings provide valuable nutrients to your lawn, and by helping to retain moisture, they reduce the need for watering. It’s easier because there is no time spent raking and bagging. You’re helping the environment by not sending
bagged clippings to the landfill. You should mow your grass when it’s dry, and cut no more that 1/3 off the top at each cutting. The ideal height for a lawn is 2 to 3 inches.

Your lawn should be fertilized twice per year; in Fall and Spring. For your Fall application, choose a fertilizer with a low nitrogen level (for example 9-9-9). Although blade or top growth of the grass appears to have stopped, the roots are actively growing right into freeze up. Fertilizing in Fall keeps your lawn healthy through its dormant winter period by building up its root system. The second application in early Spring is to stimulate blade growth. For your Spring fertilizer application, choose a higher level of nitrogen (for example 15-9-9). A lawn fertilized twice a year can have deeper roots, denser growth and greater resistance to weeds, disease and hot weather stress.

Sprinkler Timers 
Sprinkler timers can save you time and money. Setting up a sprinkler timer can allow you to water at the optimum time, (early in the morning) even if you’re not home. Use a sprinkler that sprays low and delivers large droplets. The higher the spray, the more water lost to evaporation.

 Excerpted from Region of Durham website and edited to reflect City of Guelph information