If you live in the Jacksonville, FL, area, you and pretty much all of your neighbors fall under the same lawn-watering umbrella.

Water use in nearly all of the Jacksonville area is governed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, which has instituted year-round water restrictions for residential customers. The restrictions include:

  • You’re prohibited from watering your lawn between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • During Daylight Saving Time (the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November), you can’t water your lawn more than two days per week according to the district’s schedule.
  • During Eastern Standard Time (the first Sunday in November until the second Sunday in March), you can’t water your lawn more than one day per week according to the district’s schedule.

Here are four tips to help you stay on track with watering your lawn in the Jacksonville area.

1. Mind the Measurement.

On your assigned irrigation day, you can’t soak your lawn with more than three-fourths of an inch of water in each irrigation zone.

To be sure you’re hitting the three-fourths-of-an-inch target, measure how much water your sprinkler is spraying by putting out some straight-sided containers, such as tuna cans, to catch the water, the City of Jacksonville says. Run the system until you’ve collected enough water to measure, and note the length of time it took. Based on this measurement, adjust your watering time so you don’t pass the three-fourths-of-an-inch mark.

“We do not need to do away with beautiful lawns to save water or sustain our environment. We just need to learn how to grow lawns that use water and other resources efficiently while maintaining their beauty,” says JEA, the Jacksonville-based utility.

2. Mind the Clock.

On your assigned irrigation day, you can’t water your lawn for more than one hour per irrigation zone. The City of Jacksonville warns that overwatering your lawn can cause shallow grass roots, and make your grass susceptible to diseases and pests.

JEA says at least half of the water used in northeast Florida goes toward lawns.

“When the right amount of water is applied, the lawn stays healthy without wasting any water,” JEA says.

3. Know the System.

No matter the time or day, irrigation with a micro-spray, micro-jet, drip or bubbler irrigation system is permitted.

4. Get a Handle on the Grass.

In the Jacksonville area, you’ll find several types of grass, including bahia, bermuda, centipede, paspalum, St. Augustine and zoysia. However, some of these grasses are better than others in terms of water needs. According to the University of Florida, bahia, bermuda and paspalum are your best choices for grass that can thrive on less water than their counterparts.

“Turfgrasses vary in their ability to withstand stresses. Drought tolerance is a measure of how well the turf will survive extended dry periods without irrigation or rainfall,” the university says.

Hunting for lawn care in Jacksonville? Go to www.lawnstarter.com/jacksonville-fl-lawn-care.

Photo: Flickr/Paul Johnson

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