Watering of Plants, Lawn & Trees During Hot Summer Months

Your landscape is a large investment, and it takes some special care during our hot Oklahoma summers. During periods when no rain has fallen for several weeks, signs of stress will occur. You may see these signs in your yard or in certain shrubs or trees.

Watering: In order to provide your landscape and lawn with the proper amount of water, you should understand the specific needs for your lawn, trees, shrubs, and other ornamental plants. Some trees and shrubs, especially those which need more water, will drop a large number of leaves during periods of heat and drought. This is a normal reaction for some plants. 

It is important to provide enough water for your landscape, but it is also important to avoid over-watering, which can be just as bad as drought. There is not a perfect rule for watering, since many factors such as heat, shade, wind, the type of soil, evaporation, and the length of the grass all affect the amount of water needed by your turf.

In general, a slow deep watering every few days is better than frequent, shallow waterings. Watering for short time periods will only allow water to penetrate into the top layer of the soil, encouraging shallow rooting and soil compaction, and may not get deep enough for the roots of the landscape plants. When the grass has a blue-gray appearance and shows footprints after you have walked on it, it is beginning to wilt. Enough water should be applied to wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches.

Mowing: The height of your lawn affects the amount of water needed. Short lawn heights will require more water than taller heights, due to the limited leaf surface on the shorter grasses.  Also, allowing the grass to grow higher will help the grass tolerate the heat by shading the soil. Mowing heights of 3” for cool-season grasses (Fescue, etc.) is recommended. For Bermuda grass, gradually raise the cutting height from 1 ½ to 2 inches.

Steve Ancik, Landscape Architect
Grooms Irrigation (405) 348-2557

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