When it comes to watering your lawn in the Orlando, FL, area, timing is everything.

For example, lawn watering in Orange County (the area’s most populated county) is limited to one day per week during Eastern Standard Time and two days per week during Daylight Saving Time. Watering is always prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Other communities in the Orlando area have similar restrictions.

Citing research from the University of Florida, the St. Johns River Water Management District says that “healthy Florida lawns require no more than two days per week of water during the hot, dry season — less during rainy periods — and no more than one day a week during cooler weather.”

Here are six watering tips that’ll help you keep your Orlando lawn healthy and eco-friendly.

1. Waste No Water.

Lawns need only about three-fourths of an inch of water during one watering session, the University of Florida says. “Additional irrigation is unnecessary and wasteful,” the St. Johns water district says.

A study released in 2015 by researchers at the University of Florida found that 64 percent of the drinking water used by homes in Orange County went toward irrigation, with that figure rising to 88 percent during the summer.

2. Add It Up.

To figure out how long you should water your lawn, put empty tuna cans or measuring cups around the yard, all within range of your sprinkler, the University of Florida recommends. Turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, gauge the amount of water that’s in each can or cup. If the containers collected three-fourths of inch of water, then you need to water for 30 minutes. If the containers have more or less than three-fourths of an inch of water, do the math to reach the three-fourths target.

3. Pick the Right Height.

Regarding the height of your grass, taller tends to be better. “The higher the grass, the more extensive the root system becomes,” the University of Florida says.

Grass with deeper roots is more drought-resistant than grass with shallower roots, the university says. If the grass is extremely short, too much energy will be put into growing new blades of grass and not enough energy will be put into growing the root system.

4. Rise and Shine (and Water).

To maximize the effort, the University of Florida suggests watering your lawn early in the morning.

“Watering during the day wastes water to excessive evaporation,” the university says. “Watering in late afternoon or late morning may be detrimental if it extends the time the lawn is naturally wet from dew. This extended ‘dew period’ can accelerate disease occurrence.”

5. Monitor the Sprinkler.

Installers of irrigation systems are licensed in some Florida counties but not in others. Therefore, your irrigation system might be inefficient or ineffective, the University of Florida warns. No matter the condition of your system, it should be checked regularly for clogs, damage, leaks or other problems, the university says.

6. Ditch the St. Augustine.

St. Augustine grass is a water hog. The City of Oviedo suggests Empire zoysia grass as an alternative, since it’s more drought-tolerant than St. Augustine and needs about half as much water. Bahia grass is another good alternative.

Looking for lawn care in Orlando? Visit www.lawnstarter.com/orlando-fl-lawn-care.

Photo: Flickr/steve p2008

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