How much should you water in April?
Statewide, the drought has property owners concerned about keeping their plants alive.
Already, watering restrictions along the lines of two watering days per week are the rule for many cities along the Front Range - stretching from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. In the mountains, watering is allowed three days per week in the Vail Valley, but that could change.
What does this mean for property owners?
For starters, remember that it's only April and we need to take one month at a time. How we handle watering restrictions in April is going to be different than in the heat of July. Getting your lawns and landscapes off to the right start is what you should do in April.
Don't water just because you can.
It's tempting to grab all the water you can when you can, but that's being a water hoarder. In April, especially, that strategy can do more harm than good if we get regular precip. Normally, April is cool and we usually get moisture.
If there's natural moisture, you probably won't need to water twice per week. Instead, do what's best for the lawn and if the soil is dry, give the lawn a good soak. Then skip watering the next 2 or 3 days you're allowed to water. Springtime is when we need to encourage grass roots to grow deep and that's exactly what soaking the soil with long intervals between watering does.
Frequent watering on the other hand, keeps roots near the top of the soil where they will dry out more quickly. In the heat of the summer, those shallow roots will be screaming for water they can't have and the lawn will show it.
Aerate the lawn.
After a spring rain or a good soak from the sprinkler on your watering day, aerate the lawn with a core aerating machine. Aeration is a best management practice and for good reason. The holes caused by aeration open up the soil so it can take in the moisture and nutrients that keep lawns healthy.
CSU's experts recommends pre-emergent weed control for crabgrass this year because this is one weed that likes drier conditions. Apply the control the day before a day when you will water.
Love your trees.
Trees are your biggest landscape investment, so make them a priority. Trees cost more to buy and plant than any other plants in the landscape - and they actually increase in value over time. It's easy to replace some dead lawn, but you can't go to the nursery to buy a 30 ft maple tree if the one in your back yard dies. And it will take a long time to re-grow the thousands of dollars in property value that tree represents. Trees planted in the lawn areas will get water each time you water the lawn, but trees not in the turf will need supplemental water.
Tip of the Week reprinted courtesy of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) of which Foothills Landscape Maintenance, LLC is a member. ALCC is the only only professional organization for Colorado's landscape contracting industry statewide. Tip of the Week is copyrighted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and may be forwarded or copied by its members provided proper credit is given to ALCC