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Brought to you by the
Illinois Green Industry Association--the resource for industry professionals in Illinois--to provide garden tips to our valued gardening consumers in and surrounding Illinois.


Watering Know-How

The very words “water restrictions” tend to strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned gardeners.  But don’t despair!

Beautiful yards take a lot less water than you think.   When you use water wisely, you can provide your lawns and landscape plants with the water they need, even during the hottest part of the summer.   It just takes common sense and watering know-how. 

Our irrigation experts clear up some common misconceptions with the facts:

When is the best time to water my lawn?
FACT:  Water early in the morning to avoid losing water to evaporation.

Wouldn’t watering after the sun goes down have the same benefits as early morning?
FACT:  Avoid watering your lawn in the evening.  When left damp overnight, your grass can be especially vulnerable to the formation of mold, fungus and other diseases.

If water restrictions allow me to water my lawn every other day, I need to make sure I don’t miss my turn, right?
FACT:  The ground will dry from the surface down, therefore less frequent watering will promote deeper roots and thus a stronger lawn.   Frequent watering will promote shallow root growth and a weak lawn.  Only water once every 3-4 days.

Isn’t more frequent light watering better than using a lot of water all at once?
FACT:  A good soaking is better than a light watering.  However, if the water is running down the gutter and not being absorbed into the lawn, it is being wasted.   If puddles form or runoff occurs, STOP watering and allow the water soak in before watering is resumed.  This is called cycling.

How much water does my lawn require?
FACT:  Typical lawns in Illinois require about 1 inch of water each week.  Your contractor can calculate how long each zone should run to provide this amount of water.  There are automatic devices to stop watering when it is not needed.

Why does my lawn turn brown so much quicker than my neighbor’s?
FACT:  A lawn that browns quickly without water probably has shallow roots and will require a program of fertilization through watering.

Sprinkler systems can save you a lot of time and money!

A properly designed sprinkler system will not only ensure proper coverage and avoid missed areas, but will also improve water conservation and cut your watering cost.  This method of watering is not only the least labor intensive watering practice, but also can prove to be the most economical to use as well.

What you need to know about the person or company installing your sprinkler system:

Contractors who install or maintain lawn sprinkler systems in Illinois must be a Registered Irrigation Contractor or a Registered Plumbing Contractor through the State of Illinois.

Every contractor installing or maintaining lawn sprinklers must have and display a registration number.

Every person working on a lawn sprinkler work site must carry and be able to produce upon request either a Registered Irrigation Employee card or a Licensed/Licensed Apprentice Plumber card.

Every new lawn sprinkler system must be registered with the state on the proper state-provided form.

Every lawn sprinkler system drawing water from a potable supply must be equipped with a RPZ Backflow device.

Hire a better educated and trained irrigation contractor and reap the benefits of a system that is reliable and uses the appropriate amount of water.  A system that wastes water is wasting the money you pay for the water.

Ask your contractor about these water conserving devices:

  • Deduct water meters
  • Freeze sensors
  • Moisture sensors
  • Rain sensors
  • Water budgeting controllers
  • Weather stations
  • Wind sensors

To check the registration status of a contractor, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Division of Plumbing at (217) 524-0791.

For a complete list of Registered Irrigation Contractors in the State of Illinois, please call (217) 525-6222.






copyright Illinois Green Industry Association
2900 Greenbriar Drive
Springfield, IL  62704
217-546-GREEN (4733)

fax: 217-546-4703
Toll free: 888-525-3900