Keep a close eye on your lawn during the warm weather.
Water restrictions put in place during the drought, have now ceased in South East Queensland and not a moment too soon. We no longer need to sacrifice our lawns and can stop feeling guilty or bad over giving the backyard a good soaking.
A snapshot of the Brisbane areas water capacity shows it as over 90% capacity.
Current weather conditions are extreme. This is one of the driest periods in 20 years with recent recordings of the driest December ever and that’s in 140 years of records. In fact, November, December and now January have all recorded well below average rainfall totals.
It’s essential to keep up a watering regime during conditions such as these and not just for aesthetics. Yes, we will like having a lush, green lawn but keeping our lawns healthy is important for more than that. A home surrounded by a healthy lawn will be up to 10 degrees cooler on a hot day, reducing the need for air-conditioning; saving you money and saving on carbon emissions.
Watering is always recommended to be deep, infrequent and only ever in the early morning. Deep and infrequent watering will encourage a deeper, stronger and healthy root system. Early morning watering will reduce loss of moisture due to evaporation, will be readily accepted by the lawn plants (midday watering is practically useless, as the plants fold in their leaves to protect against the heat) and will reduce the risk of disease (a risk increase by watering very late in the afternoon or at night).
Speaking of evaporation, the Bureau of Meteorology’s BOM website readings for evaporation show a level of 6.8mm per day, so if you are not replacing at least that amount of moisture that is being lost, then the health of your lawn is likely to suffer. Daleys Turf usually recommends applying at least 2.5cms of water per week, but in these prolonged hot conditions and with the current evaporation levels being experienced, almost double that amount may be required. Keep an eye on the look of the lawn plants and the local rate of evaporation and rainfall. If you lawn looks dry or the plants are changing colour it’s time for more water.
So far this year we have not had a day with a maximum temperature below 28 degrees and that extended period of very warm days will allow your lawn to dry out and suffer. If the plants don’t spring back when walked on it is time to take action. Consider applying a wetting agent to your lawn. These products are specifically designed to help water penetration and to get to where it will be the most useful for the lawn; the roots.
So get out the hose, set the alarm, get up early and give your lawn a good soaking. About an hour of watering every few days should do the trick. And maybe a rain dance or two!
If you use an automatic irrigation system or similar, now would be the time to check on the time it runs for, the amount of water it is delivering and if all areas of the lawn are adequately covered, with limited overlap.