It’s unusual for our area to have above-average temperatures in mid-August, but that’s exactly what we experienced last week. With higher temperatures comes grass that gets parched and homeowners and businesses who water more frequently.
However, Columbia County residents are still under an outdoor watering ban that was implemented as a result of near-drought conditions. It was in 2004 that the Columbia County Board of Commissioners adopted an Outdoor Water Use Ordinance in order to help with water conservation.
Though it might appear that the area isn’t under droughtlike conditions now, residents still need to be aware that outdoor watering is banned between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Offenses can result in a written warning, fines and even disconnection of service.
To conserve water, county officials suggest watering in the early morning hours to prevent water loss from evaporation.
“Water slowly and deeply so the soil absorbs 6 to 8 inches deep,” notes the county on their website. “Generally, an established turf area needs only 1” of water every seven to 10 days. Ground saturation encourages shallow root growth, which causes the grass to lose its ability to survive drought.”
The use of soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems are encouraged, as is an automatic timer to turn off irrigation systems when ground saturation occurs.
The UGA Cooperative Extension Service notes that vegetable gardens should also be watered to depths of 6-8” to encourage deep roots.
“With an extensive, deep root system, plants are better able to withstand dry periods,” reads a publication posted on the Extension Service’s website. “In the absence of rainfall, a thorough soaking every four or five days on light, sandy soils and every seven to 10 days on heavy clay soils is a good general guide for irrigating vegetables.
“As much as vegetables like moisture, over-watering is harmful. Over-watering not only wastes water, it also prevents the roots from getting air,” the publication continues. “If your plants look wilted on a hot summer afternoon, that’s normal. They will usually perk up overnight. If plants are wilted in the morning, don’t wait – water.”