PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 3, 2018 - The St. Johns River Water Management District is asking homeowners across its 18-county region to join the statewide "Skip a Week" campaign to save water during the cooler months of December, January and February when weekly irrigation isn't always needed.
"If homeowners who irrigate skipped every other week of watering this winter, north and east-central Florida could save more than a billion gallons of water," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "Skipping a week of irrigation when your yard doesn't need it helps to conserve water."
During the cooler months, weekly irrigation isn't always needed. In fact, research shows 1/2 to 3/4 inches of water per irrigation zone every 10-14 days is sufficient. Overwatering makes lawns less able to survive Florida's inevitable droughts and encourages pests, disease and root rot. Using less water encourages deeper grass and plant roots, which makes them more drought-tolerant and less susceptible to pests and disease.
Skipping every other week is as simple as manually turning off your irrigation system. To make sure your yard stays healthy, turn on your irrigation system if you see signs your grass needs water. Signs include:
• Grass blades are folded in half;
• Grass blades are blue-gray; or
• Grass blades do not spring back; footprints remain visible on your lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
If you see signs your lawn is wilting and decide to irrigate, the University of Florida recommends an average of 1/2 to 3/4 inches of water per application. Saturating the root zone and then letting the soil dry encourages healthy, deep root growth. Additional research about efficient irrigation and other landscaping topics can be found at fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/ifaspubs.htm, which is part of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension website.
To learn more about the district's "Skip a Week" message, visit sjrwmd.com/SkipAWeek.