Katherine Munson, Senior Conservation Education Coordinator with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

By Katherine Munson

Q: Why are the summer months the best time for outdoor water conservation?

A: During the summer months of June, July, August and September, Florida typically sees increased rainfall. When it is raining daily, give your irrigation system a break. Yards need no more than a one-half to three-quarter inch of water every two to three days. If your lawn has received enough water from rainfall, turn off your irrigation system and turn it back on when needed.

Q: When should you water your lawn?

A: Water only when your yard needs it. The simplest way to determine if your yard needs water is to look for these visual clues: Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard. Grass blades appear blue-gray. Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it. If your yard is showing signs that it needs water, check your local forecast to see if rain is on the way.

Q: When is the best time of day to water your lawn?

A: Follow the time of day specified by your local water restrictions. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to reduce evaporation from the sun.

Q: How can I be sure my yard has received enough water?

A: Use a rain gauge to determine how much rain your yard has received. If you have a rain sensor, make sure that it is working properly by manually turning the irrigation system on and spraying a water hose at the rain sensor. If the sensor is working properly, your irrigation system will automatically turn off within three minutes.

Q: Any other tips on making the most of the rainy season?

A: It is important to make sure gutter downspouts are directed into landscaped areas or your lawn. Installing a rain barrel also is a great way to capture excess rainwater during the summer months.

For more information on how to install a rain barrel, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/rain-barrels.