For Established Lawns
Are All Lawns Watered the Same Way?
The amount of water that your lawn needs can vary from home to home. Climate, sunlight, soil condition, and grass type are some of the reasons why you may need to adjust watering frequency.
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. Clay soils may need water applied slowly – or at several different times – for better absorption. A rain gauge, an inexpensive item that can be found at most garden centers and hardware stores, is an easy way to measure the amount of water your sprinklers are dispersing onto the lawn. Longer, less frequent soakings (about 20 minutes per zone) are preferred over shorter, daily soakings because it encourages deeper and denser rooting.
How Do I know if My Lawn is Getting Enough Water?
To check watering depth, poke a long screwdriver into the soil immediately after watering. The depth at which the screwdriver “easily” slides into the soil indicates the depth of the watering. If you can slide the screwdriver six inches deep before it becomes more difficult to push, then you are watering enough. If not, then you need to adjust the length of time that your sprinklers are running. Using Love Your Soil will help increase soil porosity.
When is the Best Time to Water?
Water lawns in the morning between 5am and 10am. This allows time for the water to be absorbed without much evaporation from the heat of the sun. Late morning and early afternoon is usually too hot. Watering late in the day or in the evening does not allow the lawn to dry and will promote fungus. Fungus develops because water stays on the leaf surface far too long. Mycelia use the water as a “highway” to travel from leaf-to-leaf and, in so doing, allow the fungus to spread to other parts of the lawn.
If you cannot water, then the lawn may go dormant. This is a normal response to the stress of heat and drought. Most turf 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. Avoid traffic on the lawn during this time to minimize possible damage to the grass plants.