My Attempt to Follow Denver Water’s Recommendations…

As we all know, this winter was rather dry in the mountains, which is where we need moisture to build up our storage for the summer. In other words, we are in somewhat of a drought stage. Denver water posts recommendations as to how to water, some of which I COMPLETELY disagree with, and some which are not so bad… First, here are a few quick (easy) recommendations.

1. Adjust sprinkler heads to water only turf areas. I would even say skip shrub and tree waterings so long as they’re established. Annuals definitely need regular waterings.
2. Water ONLY in the morning. Denver water says water at night or in the morning, but they are seriously mistaken. Last year we noted on our blog the temperature here at 10pm was still nearly 80 degrees. I think we all know that would lead to quite a bit more evaporation than a temperature of 50 or even 60 right before sunrise.

Now, on to my attempt, which was futile two years ago. I am going to water only two days a week this summer, per the crazy recommendation of Denver Water. I mow my own lawn on Wednesdays, so the system will water Thursday mornings and Sunday mornings. This way, it gets watered the morning after the stressful cutting. What is even crazier with my plan is that I also cut time off the clock. Last season I spent the summer ensuring the turf was as healthy as can be. I watered each zone for 30 minutes, three mornings per week. As previously explained, always split up your watering times to allow water to soak in. So, I watered each zone for 15 minutes starting at 4 am, then each zone another 15 minutes starting at 5 am. This summer, I dropped it to 20 total, down from 30. That is a total of 40 minutes less per day, three days a week, or two hours less of watering per week. You’re welcome, Denver Water. BUT, on top of that, I am breaking it down to only two days. So, each zone will only get 40 minutes of water per week this summer instead of 90. As I am writing this I feel as though I am foreshadowing the untimely death of my lawn. All in all, this is knocking off 200 minutes of watering per week, or three hours and 20 minutes. The more ways I explain it the crazier I feel. As this summer goes on, I will post pictures of it’s survival, or lack thereof, and you can see what you want to attempt in your future. Below I will explain some of my reasonings for attempting this as well as my tricks to make it work…

Two years ago, I did attempt the two day a week thing. In theory, it’s a good practice. The roots learn to grow stronger and deeper, and therefore the turf is healthier to fend off diseases, pests and weeds. Here was my problem, from what I remember. I attempted it too late in the season. It was most likely July, and by then the roots were used to getting watered three times per week. This is one MAJOR difference this summer. I changed the timer this week. My thinking, or theory as I always tell people, is that while it is cooler out through May the roots will get their chance to conform to my new watering practices. Hopefully, they will learn that there are three days without water in between, as opposed to two, and by the time July and August come they will be ready. Also, I have of course staggered the start times for the zones. But, this time I staggered them even more. The first start time is 3am, and the second is 6 am. Basically, each zone will get two hours and fifty minutes for 10 minutes worth of watering to soak in before round two. I might even get crazy and break it into three start times. For example starting at 4 am, 5 am, then 6 am, with each zone having a run time of seven minutes, which would add up to be 21 minutes each day. So, if I do two start times, it will be 10 minutes of run time per zone. If I chose three start times, it will be 7 minutes of run time per zone. Either way, approximately 20 minutes per zone. So, here we go!

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