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The Green Thumb: Wait to water your lawn and garden

A dormant sprinkler with a blurry background.

At this time of year when spring is trying to spring, you may be thinking about when to start irrigating your landscape. And while the warmer temperatures and sunshine may tempt you to turn on the tap, my advice is wait to water.

Wait to water because we are currently on track to have the highest snow water equivalent ever measured in the state, and there is more precipitation coming before winter finally gives way to spring.

Wait to water because our soil moisture conditions going into this winter — and coming out — are better than in many past years. This means the coming runoff will not be absorbed so quickly at higher elevations and we will have more available soil moisture for our plants.

Wait to water because soil temperatures in most of the state are still cool, meaning that the most active period of plant growth has yet to begin — and plants require less water.

Wait to water because waiting will encourage plants to send roots deeper in search of soil moisture as that moisture moves down in the soil profile.

Wait to water because, let’s face it: although we’ve had an incredible winter, most of the state is still technically under drought conditions and one great year is not going to bring us out of drought.

If we all wait to water now, there will be more water available later in the growing season when our plants really need it.

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