Ever heard of a rain gauge? No? Maybe you have an idea, but you aren’t quite sure. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn what a rain gauge is, how it works, and how easy it is to use one in your home landscape.
What Is It?
If you remember those graduated cylinders you used back in your middle school science class, a rain gauge serves a pretty similar purpose. Instead of measuring mysterious liquids, however, it is used exclusively for measuring rainfall. Keeping track of the amount of water your lawn receives throughout the week is critical in determining your irrigation routine, and therefore, the health of your turfgrass. Too much water can lead to shorter roots, a higher risk of disease, and it can pollute our local waters. So, take the time to watch the weather and see just how much water and money you could save.
How to Use It
If you’ve recently acquired a rain gauge but don’t know what to do with it, simply follow the steps below to get the most out of your handy new tool.
- Find a good spot for your rain gauge. It should be put in an open area that isn’t covered by trees or other structures.
- Many rain gauges can be staked directly into the ground. Some, however, have the option of being mounted to a post or fence. No matter how you install it, make sure you can regularly empty it by turning it upside down.
- Wait until after a rainstorm, then record the amount of rain you received in your gauge.
- When taking measurements, read it at the meniscus. This is the bottom curve of your collected rainwater.
- Record the numbers you get over the week in a notebook or on a scrap piece of paper.
- If you get over 3/4, or 0.75, inches, of rain over the week, you can temporarily turn off your irrigation by switching your controller to “off.”
- When you are ready to turn it back on again, you can turn your dial to “auto,” and your irrigation will resume normally.
Watch the video below to learn how to install and use a rain gauge!
- Rain shut-off devices
- Rain sensors
- Want a healthy yard? Water less!
- FREE water! Tips for reducing irrigation during rainy season
- Learn more about irrigation by signing up for our free, online courses
- Check out more water-saving tips on our Water Resources webpage