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TIPS TO HELP LAWNS BEAT THE HEAT WITH LESS WATER THIS SUMMER

Rain Bird Offers Do’s and Don’ts For Saving Water and Keeping Lawns Healthy In The Face of Searing Summertime Temperatures

AZUSA, CA (July 27, 2011) –As the summertime heat bears down on lawns across America, many homeowners believe that the solution is water, water and more water.  But, lawns are more resilient than most expect when it comes to tolerating summertime temperatures, maybe even more so than their owners.  Here are a few tips from Rain Bird, the irrigation leader, to help homeowners keep their lawns healthy and water efficient this summer.

Water Infrequently and in Short Cycles (Cycle & Soak)
The greatest waste of water comes from watering your lawn too much, too often. Watering two or three times a week promotes deeper roots that penetrate deeper into the soil where moisture resides long after the surface dries. Instead of watering for one long period of time, water for several shorter time periods, so that the soil is able to absorb the water properly.  Overwatering will result in run-off, which wastes water and pollutes waterways.

Lawn Mower Maintenance
Mowing a lawn is stressful process for grass blades.  To reduce stress on the lawn, allow grass to grow longer by setting your mower on the highest setting.  Longer grass will provide more shade for the soil and roots and keep the soil moist for a longer period of time.  Use a sharp blade that makes a clean cut of each blade of grass. A dull mower blade tears grass, leaving it vulnerable to disease or damage from the sun.  Blades should be changed or sharpened once per season, if not more.

Time Your Watering
Make sure you turn on your sprinklers at the appropriate time – between 5:00 AM and 10:00 AM – when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool.  Watering your landscape in late morning and mid-day is much less efficient, as water will be lost due to evaporation from wind or the sun.  Watering in the evening is not recommended either because standing water on grass and leaves creates the perfect breeding ground for fungi and pests.  By watering in the morning, leaves and turf have a chance to dry out during the day.

Only Water What Grows
A misguided sprinkler is nobody’s friend. Automatic sprinklers should be regularly checked to ensure that they water grass and plants, not sidewalks and driveways.  A well-adjusted sprinkler will spray large droplets of water, rather than a fine mist, which minimizes the amount of water lost to evaporation and wind drift.

No Force Feeding 
Adding fertilizer when the lawn is already stressed from increased temperatures will lead to further damage, for excessive nitrogen, phosphorus and low potassium levels make turf more susceptible to summer drought and heat related stress.  Wait until the fall to apply fertilizer, when the temperature cools.

Not All Grass is Created Equal
Different varieties of grass respond differently to changes in temperature and watering amounts.   Cool-season grasses such as Bluegrass will naturally go dormant and turn brown during the hot summer months unless watered regularly, whereas warm-season grasses such as Bermudas and Zoysias, require less water to maintain a healthy appearance. If you are unsure what type of grass you have, just take a handful to your local nursery and ask the experts. 

Tune In the Weather
Many homeowners are turning to weather-based sprinkler systems to help them significantly reduce water use (up to 70% less in some cases).  A weather sensor works with a smart controller to monitor temperature and rainfall and then adjusts watering schedules accordingly. The controller uses a built-in database of weather information for the homeowner’s specific geographic area to adjust watering needs all year long.  Many water districts offer rebates for weather-based products such as the SST Smart Controller or the ESP-SMTe Smart Controller.

More information on lawn and garden water saving tips and weather-based irrigation products are available on Rain Bird’s website.

ABOUT RAIN BIRD CORPORATION
Headquartered in Azusa, Calif., Rain Bird Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services. From simple beginnings in 1933, Rain Bird now offers the industry's broadest range of irrigation products for farms, golf courses, sports arenas, commercial developments and homes, available in more than 130 countries. Rain Bird has been awarded hundreds of patents, including the first in 1935 for the impact sprinkler. Rain Bird’s philosophy called The Intelligent Use of Water ® is about using water wisely. Its commitment extends beyond products to education, training and services for the industry and the community. Rain Bird maintains state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities around the world.

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