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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Summer Landscape Tips

Summer Landscape Tips

Learn how to keep your landscape healthy
during the hot summer months.

Just because you can water your landscape more frequently in the summer months doesn't mean you need to.

Keep your yard healthy while still complying with watering restrictions:

Time of Day

Water in early-morning hours before sunrise to lessen water lost to evaporation and daytime winds. From May 1 through Aug. 31, watering restrictions prohibit landscape irrigation between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Avoid watering on Sunday.

Plant Selection

Use our Plant Search to choose plants that are native to the arid climate of Southern Nevada and require less water and time. There are a variety of low maintenance plants which will add both color and vibrancy to your landscape. Bermuda and other warm-season grasses require about one-third less water than Tall Fescue grass.

Monitor Your Landscape

Make adjustments to watering times as needed. Shaded or protected areas may need less water than other zones. You may even be able to water less frequently than seven days a week.

Cycle and Soak Watering

Schedule sprinklers to water in three short cycles, each about one hour apart. The Southern Nevada Water Authority recommends watering lawns 3 times a day for 4 minutes each watering.

Drip Irrigation

While drip irrigation is permitted any day of the week during summer, experts agree that running it a maximum of three days a week during warmer months is much better for plants than daily watering. The length of watering time for plants on drip systems varies depending on the type of emitter, plant types and soil conditions. See our drip watering tips for details.

Check Your Irrigation System

Check your irrigation system weekly for broken or misaligned sprinkler heads and drip emitters, which can be prime water-waste culprits.

Upgrade Your Irrigation Clock

Replace your irrigation system with a "smart clock" and save water and money. SNWA offers an instant rebate coupon for smart irrigation controllers that automatically shut off your irrigation when it rains.

Mow for Best Results

Each time you mow the lawn, change directions. Set your mower to the proper height to promote a healthy lawn and to reduce water use. Recommended mowing heights are 2 1/2" to 3" for Tall Fescue and 3/4" to 1 1/2" for Bermuda.

Brown Spots on the Lawn

Hand water brown spots and check your irrigation system. Lawns usually develop brown spots because of faults in the sprinkler system, such as mixed types of sprinkler heads, blocked spray patterns and improper spacing between sprinklers.

Check that your sprinkler heads are level to grade, perpendicular to the slope of the lawn and not watering sidewalks, walls or patios. If grass blocks the spray, trim around the sprinkler head or install a taller 3- or 4-inch pop-up.

Lawn sprinkler heads should provide "head-to-head" coverage. That means the spray of one sprinkler should reach the head of the adjacent sprinkler. If your lawn looks great except for stressed areas in front of the sprinkler heads, the heads are too far apart. A device called an undercut nozzle can help. Talk to an irrigation specialist if you decide to change out the nozzle.

Watering system pressure also can cause brown spots. Misting and excessive drift are signs of high pressure. Low pressure displays itself with weak, short spray patterns and reduced coverage.

Combat Compacted Soils

Compacted soils also can stress your lawn. Sometimes simply aerating a stressed area and giving it a good soaking solves the problem. Purchase a hand-operated coring aerator at a nursery, or hire a professional to do the job. Aeration should be done at least twice a year.

An extremely dry lawn becomes hydrophobic, or water-repelling. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap to a gallon of water and drench the dried area. This breaks down the surface tension of the grass, making it hydrophilic, or water-loving. Then give it a good soaking.

Water between 2 and 5 a.m. through September. This is the coolest time of the day or night, and your lawn will more effectively soak in the water you give it.

Leaf Scorching and Burning

Leaves usually are stressed for one of two reasons: improper watering or improper fertilization. Since both over watering and under watering can damage plant leaves, the best solution is to water deeply and infrequently. This allows oxygen in the soil, washes salts away and encourages deep rooting.

For most trees and shrubs older than three years, water deeply once every seven to 10 days (Run your drip system one to three hours to soak the root zone). Newer plants may need water twice as often until established. Add a layer of surface mulch 2- to 4-inches thick to conserve water between waterings and cool and enrich the soil.

Make sure you have the right fertilizer both for your specific plants and for the time of year. Some fertilizers release much faster in hot weather, increasing the potential for damage. Follow package directions exactly and err on the conservative side. Then, irrigate well to move nutrients to the soil.

Bug Damage

For a non-pesticide alternative to getting rid of aphids and other pests, spray plants with a strong blast of water from your hose. You'll knock bugs off and damage or drown many of them. Or, buy beneficial "predator" bugs like ladybugs at nurseries and set them loose to attack aphids and let nature run its course.

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