While most enjoyed labor day weekend avoiding all types of labor, I spent three days unloading a moving truck into my new home. With the excitement of moving into a new house in a new state, there's a lot of learning to do.  My first education dealt with turf maintenance.  What time should I be watering the lawn? One of my neighbors had their sprinkler on at 2pm while another was watering after 9pm.  Apparently BOTH are wrong.

Here are five things to know about keeping your lawn healthy and green according to a 2010 MSU Extenstion publication:

• Choose the irrigation system that is most efficient for your needs; micro-spray systems, sprinklers, soaker hoses, drip systems and timers all have advantages and disadvantages. Make a list to decide what’s best for your situation.

• Avoid watering when it’s windy; windy conditions increase evaporation

• You can get ‘double-duty’ out of your sprinkler by letting the kids play in the water while watering the lawn. However, this is NOT a good idea when watering the garden.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

• Whenever possible, water in the early morning and early evening when evaporation is lowest. Lawns watered under the hot midday sun lose as much as 30 percent of applied water to evaporation. Avoid watering late at night; plants can develop fungus from being wet and cold all night.

• Established lawns only need 1 to 2 inches of water every 3-5 days. Apply an inch of water about every 3 days if the weather is very hot. A quick and easy way to know how deep water has penetrated the soil is by using a soil probe. Push a 1 /4 or 3 /8 inch metal rod into your soil after irrigating. When the rod hits dry soil it will stop; that is how deep water has infiltrated.

Original text by Larry Hoffman, Extension Agent for Lewis and Clark County; Jeff Jacobsen, Extension Soils Scientist; Kevin Laughlin, former Extension Agent for Toole County; Mike Vogel, Extension Housing and Home Energy Specialist; Terry Wolfe, 4-H Specialist. Revised and edited by Amber Kirkpatrick and J.W. Bauder.


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