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 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, 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 the depth of watering, poke a long screwdriver into the soil 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, 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 too much evaporating in 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. Fungus will likely develop overnight because the 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. It is best to avoid traffic on the lawn during this time to minimize possible damage to the grass plants.