Tips from Toby: Rain gauges keep lawns healthy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Learning how to use a rain gauge correctly is the most important key to having a great lawn. It's almost become cliche to ask "how much rain did you get yesterday?" We've had a nice wet spring but the warm temperatures are here and paying attention to how much rain you get each week is very important.

Our lawns need two inches of water per week right now, but it's about much more than just our lawns. Keeping the soil around your foundation properly watered along with landscape and trees is essential too.

We can't control when nature brings us too much rain, but we need to know when we don't have enough water and act accordingly. 

The simple fact is that most of us water way too much. Our lawns can only handle about a half an inch of watering at a time and after that it just runs off. A good rain gauge will help you understand how much rain we've had and also can be used when watering to make sure that you're evenly watering your lawn, landscape and foundation.

Keep your rain gauge in an area that is not covered by trees or other obstructions and monitor it after rainfall. If you don't get rain each week you'll need to apply water accordingly. If you're running a sprinkler system move your rain gauge around to each zone to make sure you're getting even coverage. Last year's drought moved the soil a lot and your sprinkler heads have probably shifted. This is a good time to have a checkup to make sure your sprinkler heads are aligned properly and not watering the street more than your lawn! This is also a great time to add a rain sensor so you're not one of "those" people that we see watering your lawn during a rain storm!

Also, don't forget, you want to be watering in the morning and not at night. Watering at night can lead to lawn disease and you don't want that!

Finally, if you haven't applied Earth Right yet this year, get out and do it now. Earth Right helps turn unhealthy clay soil into healthy soil and allows for deeper watering and root structure which will help during the hot summer for a better and healthier lawn.

Even if you don't have a rain gauge there is a very easy way to tell when your lawn needs to be watered. When the lawns go from a nice green to a bluish purple color or your footprints don't spring back quickly... it's time to get out the hose and water.

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