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Water conservation

Irrigation amounts

Apply moderate amounts of water to create a healthy, drought- and stress-tolerant lawn. For most Florida soils, applying no more than three-quarters of an inch of water per application is enough to revitalize the grass. Saturate the root zone, then let soil dry to encourage healthy, deep root growth. Overwatering promotes weed growth, disease and fungus.

Lawn with sprinkler and small cans placed nearby for measuring amount of water applied

You can use the “catch” can method to determine how much water to apply and to see if you are watering uniformly across the landscaped area. Place five to seven wide-mouthed, flat-bottom cans (cans about the size of an average tuna can) throughout the zones to be irrigated. Irrigate each zone as you normally would. When you have finished irrigating a zone, measure the depth of water in each can. Average the measurements and use this number to determine how long you need to water to apply three-quarters of an inch of water in each irrigation zone.

While testing your system using the “catch” can method is the most effective way to determine how much water you are applying, there are some general guidelines for inground systems. These guidelines are based on the type of head used in each irrigation zone.

  • Rotor zones set between 45 and 60 minutes apply about three-quarters to an inch of water.
  • Zones with spray heads set at 20 to 35 minutes generally apply the same amount.
  • For newly installed planting beds, set micro-irrigation zones for 60 minutes twice a week for 30 days. Then cut back to once a week until plants are established, which will take no more than another month or two, depending on weather conditions. Then water only as needed.


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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922