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2015-04-14 15:05:49
Salt Lake City Watering Information

The winter of 2014/2015 has been extremely dry - affecting the snowpack numbers which are rather bleak this year, so the runoff will not add much to water levels.  For this reason Salt Lake City has taken the first official step to notify its residents of possible water shortages this summer.  According to the National Weather Service website, a monitoring station at Snowbird, where snowpack normally has 41 inches of water in mid-April, had just under 21 inches Monday — its second driest year in the past 25. In Big Cottonwood Canyon, a major source of Salt Lake City's water supply, the Brighton monitoring gauge was the driest it's been in 29 years. It measured 6.3 inches of water in the snowpack, 27 percent of normal (21 inches).

While the 'stage one advisory' does not require any water-use restrictions at this point, the following are good practices to help conserve water now.

What Time of Day Should I Water? 

In Salt Lake City we recommend that when watering with spray-type heads, water between 10 pm and 8 am. Watering early in the morning generally means relatively low wind conditions and less water lost to evaporation. Watering with low-volume drip systems may occur at any time. 



How Long Should I Water? 

In Salt Lake City, clay loam soils are common. In many cases running an irrigation system on a lawn for more than ten minutes will result in runoff. Heavy clay soils or compacted soils may experience run-off after as little as five to eight minutes. See Sample Irrigation Schedules for more precise run times and for information on the cycle/soak method to reduce water run-off.


How Often Should I Water?

If watering trees, shrubs, perennials, and other plants, see the Sample Irrigation Schedules. For turf, follow the general guidelines below, or see the Sample Irrigation Schedules. Remember to change the frequency of the watering events as the season changes; the duration of the cycle always remains the same.


Less is More - More harm is caused to our plants and grass from over-watering than from under-watering. When setting up your schedule, be conservative to start and add another cycle if plants begin to look stressed.

Losing its Spring - Grass signals that it needs water by losing its spring; when you walk across the lawn and see your footprints, your lawn probably needs to be watered. You may also see the color change to a bluish shade of green.

Mow it high. Set your mower to the highest settings recommended for your turf type.  There are several reasons not to cut your grass too short:

  1. Keeping grass longer allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis, which in turn results in healthier grass. 

  2. The longer the blade length, the deeper the roots. And conversely, turf mown very low has shallow roots.

  3. Taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. By mowing higher, you can eliminate up to 20 percent of the mowing you do annually—an average savings of about eight hours a year, not to mention the savings of gasoline and wear on equipment.

  4. By keeping your grass at the upper end of its recommended mowing height, you can prevent most weed seeds from germinating, and thereby eliminate the need for herbicides.

Water by degrees. In the Salt Lake City area, the months of September through November may seem warm, but shortening day lengths and cooler night temperatures means turf grass and other plants need less water. Decrease watering frequencies for turf to once every 7 to 14 days; check the Sample Irrigation Schedule for watering needs of other plants. Turf doesn’t need watering in November. Shut down your irrigation system properly to avoid freezing pipes and future leaks.


For an Irrigation Schedule see the following link https://slcgardenwise.com/Watering-Guide/Schedules.php.

Get a free sprinkler check by calling 1-877-728-3420.


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