For Established Lawns
Are All Lawns Watered the Same Way?
The amount of water your lawn needs can vary yard to yard. Climate, sun or shade, soil conditions and the variety of grass growing are some of the reasons you may need to adjust how you water.
How Much Water Does the Lawn Need?
On average, about one inch of water per week during the growing season, including rainfall, should be enough for most lawns. You will know you are watering enough if each watering soaks about 6 inches into the soil to encourage deep root growth. Clay soils may need water applied slowly or at several different times to allow time to soak in. One way to measure how much water your sprinklers are putting out is to place coffee cans or pie plates out while the sprinklers are running. You can also buy a rain gauge to measure sprinkler output and accurately measure how much rain fell during a storm or weekly. Aim to get ½ inch twice a week including rainfall. Longer, deeper waterings are preferred over 10 minutes per zone daily!
How Do I know if My Lawn is Getting Enough Water?
To check the depth of a watering, poke a long screwdriver into the soil after watering. The depth to which the screwdriver slides into the soil easily indicates the depth of the watering. If you can slide the screwdriver six inches deep before it becomes more difficult to push, you are watering enough. If not, then you will know that you need to adjust the length of time that you run your sprinklers. Try to avoid wasting water if run-off occurs.
When is the Best Time to Water?
The best watering times are between 4am and 4pm. (Avoid mid-day if it is very hot). This allows time for the water to be absorbed without too much evaporating in the heat of the sun. Watering too late in the evening does not allow the lawn to dry. Fungus can develop overnight if the water does not got absorbed or evaporate before nightfall.
If you cannot water the lawn may go dormant. This is a normal response to the stress of heat and drought. Most turfgrass plants can stay dormant for at least 3 to 4 weeks without the grass dying. The length of dormancy depends on the health of the plant. It is best to avoid traffic on the lawn during this time to minimize possible damage to the grass plants.