We've already had extremely dry weather, but Louisiana's hottest, driest weather is often in August, so pay close attention to your lawn, newly planted shrubs and trees, and landscape beds. LSU AgCenter offers these tips for effective irrigation:
- Irrigate early. Morning water pressure is usually higher and foliage will have time to dry before evening, reducing the chance of disease problems.
- Apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week to established lawns in the absence of rain. It’s best to deliver the water once or twice per week with at least 1 inch each time. Frequent, shallow watering results in shallow roots.
- Determine how much water is being delivered by placing several shallow water collectors, such as tuna cans, around the landscape to check both coverage and inches-per-hour output.
- Consider soil type. Soils with high clay content need several short, back-to-back cycles for water to penetrate, but hold water longer. Sandy soils need more frequent and shorter-cycle applications because moisture isn’t retained long.
- Locate plants with similar water needs together to prevent over- or underwatering.
- Irrigate newly planted trees every 7 to 10 days in the absence of rain by letting a hose trickle for about a half hour near the trunk. Newly planted shrubs can be watered with soaker hoses or sprinklers.
- Check container plants frequently for dry soil. Watering every day, or even twice a day, may be necessary. Factors include temperature, pot size and material, type of potting mix, drought tolerance of a plant and whether a plant is in sun or shade.