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Dates to remember

July 12: Morton County Soil Conservation District meeting, Mandan

July 12: Plot tour, Gietzen Plot

July 16: My First Business: Babysitting, New Salem

July 17, 24, 31: Park Play Dates for families, 10:30 a.m.

July 19: Friends and Neighbors Day, USDA-ARS, Mandan

Aug. 2, 9, 16; 1-2-3 Magic, Bismarck

Hot summer days are great for water fights and time in the swimming pool, but not for our lawns. Much of the grasses found in North Dakota lawns are classified as cool season, such as Kentucky bluegrass, and do not thrive in the heat of the summer sun; in fact, they become dormant. Nevertheless, they still require water to survive and without it, your lawn could result in poor recovery and dead grass.

The general guideline is to provide lawns with about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week either from the homeowner or from Mother Nature. This amount can vary depending on influencers that include the number of trees or other plants competing for the moisture, thickness of the thatch layer, disease, clay content and level of compaction, so adjust accordingly.

Homeowners are encouraged to measure water output to avoid the expense of overwatering. To do so, simply make a 1- or 1.5-inch mark (whichever you prefer) on several small containers of the same size (anything with straight edges and a flat bottom). Place the containers in the line of the sprinkler and time how long it takes for the water to fill to the mark. You can use this as your base time for watering as long as water pressure is constant.

Watering deep and less frequently is beneficial to the lawn. By doing so, it creates a deeper root system because the roots will grow where the water is. However, this may need to be adjusted depending on the type of soil. If the soil is mostly clay, the water is unable to infiltrate as quickly and may run off if 1 inch of water is applied all at once. This could be altered by applying .5 inches two times per week instead.

Morning is the best time to water; plants are active and can absorb the water they need. It is not recommended to water in the afternoon when the heat evaporates the water more quickly than the plants can absorb it. Evening is also an undesirable time to water because of the potential to create an environment for diseases due to the lawn being wet through the night hours.

Remember, the grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other side if you water your lawn properly.

If you would like to visit further about lawn care, contact NDSU Extension in Morton County at 701-667-3340.

Marissa Leier is the agriculture and natural resources Extension agent with the NDSU Extension Service/Morton County. Leier has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Dakota State University.