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Medford Water Commission

Medford Water Commission - 541.774.2430
Lawn Watering Infoline - May 24

Welcome to the Lawn Watering Infoline. In an effort to help save water, as you speak with your friends and neighbors, mention this Infoline to them, especially if they use a sprinkler system on their landscape.

May is a great time to aerate a lawn. This will allow water to penetrate more deeply into the soil now and into the summer.

If you had a Rain Shut-off Device on your sprinkler system, your system might have shut off with the rain we recently received. A Rain Shut-off Device is a relatively inexpensive way to save water, along with the time it takes to turn your system off and back on.
Based on current weather conditions, turf grass needs about three-quarters of an inch of water this week.  Additionally, the weather forecast is calling for a slight chance of rain within the next several days, so monitor your lawn and adjust your sprinkling accordingly. 

Different sprinklers apply water at different rates, but as an approximate guideline, you would need to run standard spray sprinklers a total of about 30 minutes for the week.  Rotors apply water more slowly, so they need to run around 72 minutes over the course of the week to apply this same amount of water.  If you have multiple stream rotators, you need to run those for 112 minutes for the week.

To determine how long to run sprinklers each watering day, divide the total minutes we’ve given by the number of days you will be sprinkling this week.  For example, if you water 3 days per week, you would run spray sprinklers for 10 minutes each watering day to apply the needed amount of water.  Typical rotors would need to run 24 minutes on each watering day and multi-stream rotators for 37 minutes each watering day.

Additionally, instead of applying all the water in one cycle, break up the watering into three shorter cycles separated by an hour or so. That would mean running spray sprinklers 3 minutes each cycle, rotor sprinklers for 8 minutes and multi-stream rotators 12 minutes.  This will help the water absorb into our tight heavy clay soils.

To help you make the most of your watering, also consider the following tips:

Run your sprinklers before the sun comes out.  If you complete watering before 6 a.m., your sprinklers won’t have to compete with other water uses, and can also take advantage of the lowest temperatures of the day.  If you prefer evening sprinkling, wait until at least 9 p.m. when it has started to get cooler, and breezes have died down.

In addition to adjusting your irrigation times, remember to give your sprinkler system an occasional checkup.  If you haven't observed your system operating lately, turn it on and make sure sprinklers are all facing the right direction and functioning properly.  Areas served by drip systems need maintenance too, which may include adding more or larger emitters as plants grow.

May is a great time to fertilize a lawn. When you fertilize, it is always best to use a slow release fertilizer to feed turf grass. Apply enough fertilizer to give the lawn about one pound of actual nitrogen, the first number of the fertilizer formula on the fertilizer bag. If you need help understanding how much to apply, ask your local nursery or call us at 541.774.2435

Before starting up your sprinklers this season, please visit our Spring Start-Up page, or call us at 541.774.2435 to request information to be mailed to you.
As a reminder, if you are a Medford Water Commission customer, we offer a Free Sprinkler Survey in which we provide an overall evaluation of your sprinkler system and make recommendations for any improvements. Call 541.774.2435 to set up an appointment.  

For a guide to help you schedule your sprinkling, you can download our Sample Lawn Watering Schedule or call 541.774.2435 to have a copy mailed to you.

There is a wealth of information on conservation and landscaping on our website, which we hope you will find helpful. If you have any questions or comments, or would like more information, email us or call 541.774.2435.

We hope you find this information to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments, or would like more information, email us or call 541.774.2435.
Thank you for being mindful of your water use. Using these tips, we hope you’ll find that you can maintain a beautiful, healthy landscape while using water wisely.  

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