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Are you watering your lawn wrong?

Watering tactics differ in the spring, summer
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 19:48:59-04

Many could blame a brown lawn on the heat in the Omaha metro this summer, but officials say watering too much or at night could also be to blame. 

Many homeowners water at various times to try to keep it green, but in many cases, all they are doing is padding their water bill. Overwatering, under watering, fungi and mold can all make your lawn turn brown — but the good news is they're all avoidable. 

Lawn care expert John Fech says watering too much or too late in the day could be undoing all the hard work on your lawn. 

"There's kinda a common myth out there that you should irrigate your lawn in the middle of the afternoon for 5 or 10 minutes just to cool it down,” Fech said. “And, actually, recent UNL research indicates that that is not the case, and in fact its counterproductive."

Fech says measuring the amount of water and testing the soil are ways to avoid over- or underwatering. Also, many people like to water their lawns when they get home at night — which helps avoid burning your lawn up in the middle of the day — but watering too late can actually lead to fungi and mold that can also make your lawn brown. 

The best time to water your lawn is between 5 and 10 a.m. Also, keep in mind the season, as watering tactics differ in the spring, summer and fall.

"You water to the end of the roots, which are shallower in the summer so it’s kinda a double edged whammy," Fech said. "[Overwatering] can cause the lawn to go brown and many people overreact by dumping extra water on their lawn." 

Temps in the Omaha metro have remained above average most of the summer, meaning plants could be suffering along with the grass. 

John Cotten helps maintain the Metropolitan Utilities District’s sustainability garden in Village Pointe. The garden is nearly drought proof with many plants that need minimal water — a good option for homeowners that want the appeal with little work. 

"You can buy these plants at any home garden store anywhere in town,” Cotton said. “Lilac bushes, we have quick fire hydrangeas in the back, viburnum.." 

For Fech, he says the secret to a good lawn is all about knowing when and where the water goes. 

"The lawn is naturally giving off water, which cools the plants themselves,” Fech said. “So we should just let mother nature take its course."