Tag Archives: watering


By   October 12, 2015

Most northern lawns need about an inch of water a week, and most of this requirement is filled by the quick changing weather that we’re famous for.

Rainfall guage

Rainfall gauge

Of course, one inch is only a guide. If you have real sandy soil that drains instantly, you’ll need more. Conversely, clay type soils might need a lot less frequent attention.

The summer brings the biggest problems. Hot sunny days evaporate water from the soil and grass quickly, and without replenishment, water in the soil drains down and away from the roots. Most grasses are able to go into a dormant state, where they shut down all above ground growth and even let their tops die back. By saving their remaining resources, once moisture is available again, the plants are able to resume growth.

Watering requirements are also influenced by the variety and condition of the grass. Good, healthy, mature grass has roots that go deep and can pull water from a greater volume of soil than shallow-rooted species. Young or unhealthy grass won’t be able to do this.

Some grass varieties have lower watering requirements than others. Generally, the Fescues are the most drought tolerant, followed by Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass. Bentgrass has a very low drought tolerance and needs frequent (once or twice daily) watering. Of course, young grass plants of any variety haven’t had an opportunity to grow long roots or store up some resources will need frequent waterings also.

There are a couple of ways to tell if your lawn is parched. The simplest is to use a shovel to examine the soil a few inches down. If it’s dry, it needs water. It’s not always easy to tell when grass is wilting. Sometimes, when the plant’s internal water content drops too low, the plant cells begin to droop and shrivel. The grass plants lose their bright green color and turn a blue-green. Walking on wilted grass will leave footprints that don’t spring back.

Most grasses are able to recover from these initial stages of wilt, but it still puts a lot of stress on the plants and repeated wilting definitely isn’t good.


By   October 10, 2015

Garden hose might seem like a simple commodity item, but purchasing the right type can make your watering job easier.

Different sizesed and colored garden hose

Garden hose is available in many lengths, capacities, and styles

Hoses come in many different lengths with the most common being between 25 and 100 feet. Of course, you can hook several up together if needed, but it’s sometimes more convenient to have just one the correct length. Having a hose that’s too long can also be a challenge as a hose full of water can be cumbersome and awkward to move around.

The diameter of a hose determines how much water can flow through it. Sometimes a thin ½ inch hose doesn’t allow enough water for a sprinkler to reach its full range, especially if it’s long. The larger diameter ones pass more water, but they’re also heavier and more expensive.

A few companies are advertising compact hoses that shrink when empty or coil up on their own. It’s a great idea, and I have purchased several of them only to be disappointed. The ones that coil are so thin that they only supply enough water for watering individual flowers. It would take forever to do a large area, and the stream wasn’t heavy enough to wash my car. There are several newer ones that have soft walls that shrink without water. These look promising.

kinked garden hose

Hoses that kink are a real nuisance. Spend a bit extra for kink resistant models.

A well-constructed hose will last for years. To choose, look at the quality of the couplings and the construction of the hose walls. Better built ones have brass couplings and sometimes have ergonomic shapes that make tightening connections easier. Also, look for hoses that are kink resistant. It’s real frustrating when you are watering your flowers and every time that you move the hose it kinks. Then you have to put down the nozzle, walk back to the kink, straighten it out, and start again. I called the customer service number for one of the hose companies about it; they said that it was because I coiled my hose when I put it away, and that left twists. I won’t leave my hose out on the lawn, so I still coil it; I just got a heavier kink proof hose.

Some hoses are made of just plastic or vinyl walls. Unreinforced hoses usually don’t last long and will eventually blow up like a balloon and burst. Better hoses have plies of reinforcement in the sidewall, the more plies, the stronger the hose. More plies also make the hose less likely to kink.

My biggest problem with hoses always seems to be in stretching it out to where I need to water and rolling it up when I’m through. A few companies make rollup storage units. They’re a great idea, but make sure that you get one that’s strong enough. Over the years, I have been given a few as gifts, and they just can’t handle the weight and stiffness of a long hose.

Store your hose coiled on the ground or on a special hanger that distributes the weight, hanging on a peg or a nail can damage them. Freezing with water in them is also very hard on the sidewalls and can cause early failure.

The most common hose problem is loss or damage to the washer, a round piece of rubber or plastic that goes inside the coupling. Replacements are very inexpensive and easy to install. It’s a good idea to keep a few on hand. If you spring a leak, there are repair kits made. Most involve cutting away the damaged hose and reconnecting the two ends with a connector kit.