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GREEN CORNER: Watering at noon won’t help your grass

Don't water your lawn at noon.

By Dana Mears

Watering your lawn at noon is like splashing yourself with water instead of drinking it.

When we water in the morning (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.) or in the evening (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) it’s like a refreshing drink of water before going out in the sun — it helps our bodies stay hydrated. Conversely, when we splash ourselves with water, it feels nice but doesn’t prevent dehydration.

The same goes for our lawn: mid-day watering won’t reach the roots where it can help it grow. The water evaporates because the ground is hotter in the afternoon than in the morning or evening, making a mid-day watering break rather useless for the grass.

When we water during the middle of the day, it can lead to what is known as “shallow watering.” Shallow watering is when the water evaporates before it gets very deep into the soil. This encourages the roots to grow closer to the surface, where they are most vulnerable to drought, heat and harsh sunlight. By watering during the time periods permitted in the Town’s watering bylaw (5 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.), it allows the water to trickle through the soil towards the roots, known as “deep watering.” Deep watering encourages the roots to grow deeper and stronger. Deeper roots are more resistant to drought and extended periods of hot temperatures.

Running through the sprinkler over lunch may help you, your kids and your dog cool down on hot days, but it’s not helping your grass to green-up and grow healthy and strong. Because of Cochrane’s location in the beautiful Albertan prairies, we experience high levels of evaporation from the intense summer sun, sparse tree cover and hot summer temperatures.

This evaporation steals any moisture you apply to your lawn during the day — especially between noon and 4 p.m. when the temperatures are the hottest and the sun is at its most intense. Watering properly at the right times can help your grass become more resistant to droughts and healthier during the hot summer days to come.