The key to proper watering is to apply only the amount needed
at the best time using the best methods possible to minimize
water losses and adverse impacts to plants. Consider planting
drought tolerant and/or native plants.
URI CE Botanical Gardens
Most lawns require about one inch
of water each week to remain actively growing during summer
months. Vegetable crops require
about one to two inches each week depending on root depth,
growth stage, and soil type. This represents a lot of water.
is a lack of weekly rainfall, it is crucial that irrigators
pay close attention to the weather and water wisely. Not
improper irrigation waste valuable water, but excess irrigation
water can also carry fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants
to ground and surface waters.
a rain gauge to measure weekly rainfall and apply only the amount
of supplemental water needed.
frequent watering, it encourages shallow root depths and can
weaken plants. One thorough watering event each week is best.
low pressure/low volume watering systems such as soaker hoses
and drip irrigation for
gardens and beds. This reduces water losses due to evaporation,
rates minimize the potential for water leaching below the root
zone or running off the surface. Water is
also applied at or near the root zone where the plant
When using sprinklers:
irrigating during hot, windy parts of the day to reduce evaporation
loss--early morning is best as wet plant foliage
during evening hours can increase susceptibility to disease.
sure that automatic sprinklers have a manual control option– irrigate
according to weekly rainfall amounts and not a set, automatic
The Glen Demonstration Site
installing a conservation controller (evaluates weather data),
soil moisture sensors or other "smart" technology to properly
irrigating paved surfaces, roads and driveways.
shallow cans or a rain gauge to
measure the amount of water
the flow rate to the sprinklers to avoid surface runoff.
Other important tips:
planting drought tolerant
plants – especially
in those spots where the soil is already very dry and sandy.
Soils differ in the amount of water they can hold, so save
moisture-loving plants for areas with finer, heavier soils.
a serious, prolonged drought consider allowing lawns to go naturally
dormant, because watering can actually stress
the grass more by forcing it to grow under such adverse conditions.
rain barrels or cisterns to
collect and store rainwater.
Smith's Castle Demonstration Site
mulch to conserve soil moisture in beds and gardens. Increase
soil organic matter (and soil moisture holding capacity) through
compost or other organic soil amendments.
View our Healthy
Lawn Care page
for more information on maintaining an attractive lawn with
For more information about proper irrigation and drought tolerant
Gauges--Your Most Important Garden Tool
Drip Irrigation for the Home Garden
Barrels and Cisterns
Conservation In and Around the Home
Healthy Landscapes Demonstration
The Irrigation Association
Master Gardener Hotline:
1 (800) 448-1011
Other community programs
for water conservation:
Water Partnership - Seattle, WA
of Cary, North Carolina - comprehensive water conservation