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Summer Heat Begs Prudent Watering

With Falls Lake now 2 inches below “Normal Operating Level” (but 14 feet, 10 inches above the bottom of the conservation pool), the Raleigh Water Nazis want to remind all of us of the current restrictive water use policies that are in place.

Customers using automatic or non-automatic irrigation systems may water their lawn from 12:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on their allotted days only . Hose end sprinklers may be operated from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the same odd and even address schedule as sprinklers systems.

  • Odd numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Even -numbered addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
  • No irrigating is allowed on Monday.

* * *

It is important to remember that overzealous watering of drought-weak lawns by people with sprinkler systems (mainly in North Raleigh) got us into the problems of 2007. At this point in the summer that year, Falls Lake was working with a “full pool”.

Lawns in Raleigh need 1” of water a week delivered in 2 or 3 applications. It is prudent to use both a rain gauge and a shallow sprinkler gauge (like a cut-off paper cup) in order to make necessary adjustments and avoid overwatering.

What is more important to remember than the restriction times, however, is that watering in the afternoon is extremely inefficient and wasteful . Much of the water distributed will evaporate before is sinks down to the grass’ root levels. Watering at night is not advised either because it promotes molds, fungi, and parasitic problems for the lawns.

Another thing to remember is that is not good to fertilize lawns after late February. Fertilization in heat promotes upward growth of the grass which makes the lawn less drought-resistant. Wait until early September when the fertilizer will help to promote downward root growth.

Also, remember to mow as often as it takes to not clip more than one third of the grass’ blade length . Such a large whack to the blade usually causes to grass to be intolerant of drought and likely die, an inviting situation for opportunistic weeds.

Now, was that so hard? Why can’t the City of Raleigh mount even a feeble attempt at disseminating even the easiest of turf management points? Instead they have chosen the lazy approach, a restrictive route with rules that have little to do with actual conservation and drought resistance.

For more fantastic information on lawns, consult NCSU’s TurfFiles page.

  • North_Raleigh_Guy

    I am confused by the negative tone of this post. Why are the city of Raleigh officials labled “Nazis” for having water restrictions in place.

    • https://www.danamccall.com Dana

      The negative tone is the reaction to the city’s idiotic approach to water conservation. Instead of making easy drought resistance a priority, they opt for enacting inane restrictions that do not modify behaviors of the offenders. They instead punish those who act responsibly.

  • Tom Woolf

    Maybe the city did try to encourage less use by informing residents of water-saving practices. Maybe we did not listen in large enough numbers. Maybe the city decided that, having seen that we did not voluntarily act responsibly in 2007 that we needed to be forced to act responsibly.

    Let’s look at it this way…. Imagine the city asks drivers to slow down near schools during school hours – a very reasonable request to help keep kids safe. Let’s say that many residents listen, and slow down. However, there is still a sizable population that “knows what they are doing” and figure what could be the harm, so do not slow down? After having kids run down unnecessarily (can kids ever be run down in any other way?), the city institutes and enforces school zone speed limits.

    Quite frankly, the statement of “they instead punish those who act responsibly” is ridiculous. I followed the water conservation suggestions in 2007 (always have), and can be considered one who acted responsibly. When the restrictions were enacted, I simply modified my responsible actions and checked the calendar before watering.

    Wow – I managed to continue to act responsibly and NOT get punished or feel a horrible burden!

    BTW – thank you for disseminating the lawn care tips, and for not griping about school zone speed limits.

  • Dana

    Good points, but I’ll say that the policies on school speed limits and school zones directly addresses the problem, while the city’s approach to the water supply is far more vague.

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