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Outdoor Tips
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  • Water only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
  • Do not over-water. Soil can absorb only so much water, and the rest simply runs off. One and a half inches applied once a week will keep most Texas grasses alive and healthy.
  • Water early in the morning. Otherwise, much of the water will simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass.
  • Use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water rather than a fine mist, and sends the droplets out on a low angle, to avoid evaporation.
  • Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough but infrequent watering. Rain shutoff valves can prevent watering in the rain.
  • Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees and shrubs, or use soaker hoses or sprinkler hoses turned upside-down.
  • Water slowly for better absorption, and never water on windy days.
  • Forget about watering the streets, sidewalks, or driveways. They will never grow a thing.
  • Condition the soil with mulch or compost before planting grass or flowerbeds. Water will soak in rather than run off.
  • Fertilize lawns at least twice a year for root stimulation, but do not over-fertilize. Grass with a good root system makes better use of less water and is more drought-tolerant.
  • Do not scalp lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. A better-looking lawn will result if grass is mowed often, so that only 1/2 to 3/4 inch is cut off.
  • Use a watering can or hand-water with the hose in small areas of the lawn that need more frequent watering. (near walks or driveways or in especially hot, sunny spots.)
  • Use water-wise plants. Choose plants that have low-water requirements, are drought tolerant, and are adapted to the area of the state where they are to be planted.
  • Consider decorating some areas of the lawn with wood chips, gravel or other materials available that require no water at all.
  • Do not sweep walks and driveways with the hose. Use a broom instead.
  • When washing the car, use a bucket of soapy water and turn the hose on only for rinsing.
  • Learn about the principles of Xeriscape.