Outdoor Watering Rules
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In Colorado, all water is sacred.
How we use and protect our water has a ripple effect. Water doesn’t just improve our individual lives, it sustains our Colorado agriculture, industry, recreation, tourism, and environment. We have a responsibility to use our water efficiently so that we have enough clean water for future generations.
Outdoor Watering Rules are in effect May 1 to October 1
Following the summer watering rules is the right thing to do in our dry climate and helps preserve reservoir levels, reducing the risk of water restrictions in the future. The watering rules incorporate best practices for efficient outdoor water use that will help keep your landscape healthy.
Is Your Lawn Too Far Gone?
Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescues will become dormant for several months and can survive without any irrigation. Recovery is usually complete once irrigation is resumed.
Tall Fescues may thin heavily under prolonged summer drought, as they are not able to become dormant as easily as bluegrass.
Ryegrass does not become dormant and will die from lack of irrigation.
If your bluegrass lawn is mostly dormant this fall season, core aeration will expose the root system to even more dehydration, and is NOT recommended.
Fertilizers for growth are also not recommended. If your turf is mostly dormant at this time, weed patches are more visible and it would be beneficial to apply a quick-release weed killer to the affected areas or apply spot treatments. Those pesky weeds will also be competing for water in the spring.
Heavy foot traffic can also affect your lawn’s recovery in the spring. Drought-stressed lawns are easily damaged.
Taking Care of Trees During a Drought
During a drought, woody shrubs and trees are susceptible to numerous environmental threats. The importance of maintaining healthy trees and shrubs should be paramount in the fall months, as they will likely succumb to disease and pests during the winter and springs months if not properly maintained.
Considering the water restrictions in place in Colorado, consumers are urged to apply all outdoor designated watering days to deep root feeding of trees and large shrubs in order to keep the existing root systems healthy and improve likelihood of survival during a drought season.
Two inches of absorbed water will last 7 to 10 days if the base and surrounding areas are well saturated. Keep the area free of weeds, which are also seeking water. Focus watering efforts on hardiest, most well established areas.
Apply at least 3 to 4 inches deep and out to the dripline to eliminated evaporation from the extending feeder roots which may be just under the first layer of soil. Avoid putting much against the trunk of the tree, as it can harbor insects and diseases.
Minimal pruning is suggested this year. Removing too much foliage or too many limbs will leave already thirsty trunks and branches open to sunburn.