You’re finally done with the move. You wake up every morning in the house that you dreamed about for months before Southwest Homes turned your vision into reality. You’ve unpacked most of the boxes, and your new house is starting to turn into your home. So how do you keep your house looking great?
One of the biggest parts of maintaining a home is managing the lawn, and in Texas, that can take a lot of work–and water–especially in the hot, dry summer months. But how much water is enough? Is there such a thing as too much?
We visited with our friend Tim Schnabel, Texas A&M Class of ’94, from Aggieland Green, to help provide our clients with the information they need to be the envy of every neighbor on the street. Schnabel has been helping people build healthy, green lawns since working for his family’s business in 1986. He opened his own business in Colorado after college, before opening Aggieland Green in College Station in 2008. After 30-plus years, he knows a couple of things about lawn care.
“The key is not to water every day or even every other day because you can actually end up creating more weed issues in the lawn,” Schnabel said. “When you water too often, it’s going to germinate more weeds and you’ll end up watering the weeds more than the grass because weeds have shallow root systems so the grass isn’t getting as much of the water.”
Schnabel says that instead of watering every day or two, for shorter amounts of time, really saturate the soil and go a few days between irrigation events, depending on the time of the year. Longer, deeper irrigation schedules will cause the roots of the grass to grow deeper into the soil to reach the water, and helps to build a much stronger, stable lawn.
Not only that, but by leaving time between sprinkler sessions, it allows you to conserve water when you can, while keeping an eye on the sky.
“When you don’t water too frequently, you can watch the weather patterns more, and you may be able to avoid watering several times each year if you get enough rain to conserve water,” Schnabel said. “We’re all about conservation, and it’s important for people to understand that you can have a really green, healthy lawn, and not be a water hog.”
However, in the Bryan-College Station area, heavy clay soil can make it a little trickier than just programming your sprinkler system to water each zone for 20-40 minutes each (depending on the type of sprinkler system you have). Schnabel says that because the clay can’t absorb water as quickly as sandier soils, you need to implement a system called “Cycle and soak.”
Aggieland Green recommends to water the lawn with a half inch of water every time you water the lawn. But because the clay soil cannot absorb water quickly enough from most sprinkler systems, you may need to repeat each zone three or four times each day that you irrigate.
“You have to determine how long it takes to get the half inch, but you also have to determine at what point the water runs off,” Schnabel said. “Let’s say it takes 20 minutes to get a half inch of water on your lawn, but it starts running off after six or seven minutes, then you need to run it for six or seven minutes on each zone, and repeat those cycles three times. Once it starts running off to the street, you’re just wasting water.”
Schnabel also said that you should always water early in the morning, and be sure to watch your sprinkler system in action once every month or two to make sure everything is working properly.
“Watering at night can cause disease issues, and you want to water early in the morning before the wind kicks up because it will blow the water and it won’t go where you want,” he said. “And be sure to watch the sprinklers run to see if any taller grass is blocking sprinkler heads, or if something is misaligned. When you have it going off in the early morning, a lot of people don’t get to see if there’s something wrong.”
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