How Can I Protect A Dormant Lawn
There are times when the weather and the local water supply are simply beyond your control. If environmental concerns, high water costs, or watering restrictions prevent you from watering your lawn as often as youd like, there are simple steps you can take to save it.
- If possible, maintain a minimal watering schedule of ½ of water every 7-14 days. Your lawn will still look brown, but will have a better chance of surviving the drought.
- A dormant, drought-stressed lawn can be easily damaged, so it is best to stay off it as much as you can.
- Once the lawn begins to receive water again, it should start to green up within 14 days some areas may need to be reseeded.
How To Tell If You’ve Watered Enough
Check the soil: To see how long it will take to soak the soil, check it every 15 minutes during your first watering. Use a shovel or screwdriver to test how deep the water has moved. Mark the time once the soil has been soaked to a depth of at least 6 inches — thats how long youll need to water your lawn in the future.
Measure with cans: Place clean, empty tuna cans in different spots around the lawn and measure how long it takes to collect 1 inch of water in each can. Since sprinkler coverage patterns may vary throughout the lawn, use the average time it takes to fill all of the cans.
Use a flow timer : Choose a timer that measures water flow in hundreds of gallons. Multiply your lawns square footage by 0.62 gallons to determine the total number of gallons needed for the entire lawn.
When watering your lawn, you may begin to notice that your lawn isnt absorbing water as quickly as it should. If you find that puddling occurs whenever you water, try watering in shorter cycles until the required time to apply the needed amount of water is met .
What Is The Best Time To Water My Lawn
Water in the early morning, between the hours of 5 am and 10 am to ensure water is absorbed without evaporation from the heat of the sun. Avoid watering your lawn at night, as it will not dry thoroughly, causing the moisture to settle on the leaves and promote fungus that can cause widespread damage to the lawn.
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Information for this article was provided by Aaron Jaussi, Branch Manager, Provo IFA Country Store Tina Potter, Utah Certified Nurseryman, Washington State Certified Nursery Professional , & Lawn & Garden Dept., Ogden IFA Country Store and Ken Holt, Lawn & Garden Category Manager, IFA Country Store
When Using A Sprinkler
If youre using lawn sprinklers to water your lawns, you should always make sure that its hitting the right points. Its no good having a sprinkler that misses out, watering only half of your lawn. It needs at least 1 inch of water to make sure its soaked.
You should ensure that youre using the right type of irrigation system for your lawn care, as you dont want to damage it by using one thats too powerful. At the same time, you dont want to just dampen an established lawn by using a sprinkler thats not powerful enough. You should also make sure that the sprinkler heads you choose are suitable for your grass.
Oscillating sprinkler systems are gentle and are best used on a new lawn or when you have added grass seed to your lawn. A pulsating sprinkler system is great when used on an established lawn thats mature enough to handle the power thats given out from these types of sprinklers. Of course, the sprinkler system cost will probably be a major influence over which type of irrigation system you have.
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When To Turn The Sprinklers On
Reasons for watering your lawn include:
To Aid Recovery After Invasive Treatments
If you have
The lawn will need water in order for the new grass seed to germinate, aid with root establishment and turfs to knit together.
Watering is the most important task when it comes to establishing a new lawn. Its the only time you should water several times a week.
In Hot, Dry Weather
Depending on the type of soil your lawn grows in, the species of grass you have, exposure to sun or how much shade the lawn is covered by will all have an impact on when youll need to water.
For example, lawns with deep rooting fescues are more drought-resistant than shallower rooting ryegrasses.
During hot, dry spells, some lawns can look good for several weeks, others might need watering weekly.
So, look out for signs that your lawn needs water. These include
- The grass losing its green colour and starting to turn yellow
- It loses its springiness and your footprints stay in the lawn after youve walked on it instead of springing back up
- The soil starts to shrink and crack
To Avoid Fungal Diseases Like Dry Patch
Sometimes soil can become very hard to re-wet after it dries out. Fungal diseases like Dry Patch occur during dry spells and coat the soil particles in a water-repellent layer.
As I said, there are many reasons for watering a lawn, not just the ones listed above.
Youve Watered After Fertilizing Now What
After this initial watering, avoid watering your lawn for a couple days so the nutrients can settle in. Then, return to your regular lawn-watering schedule, and remember these tips:
- Dont water every day. Water deeply and infrequently. Water too often, and it encourages shallow, needy roots. Water less often but deeply, and roots will grow deeper and healthier and be happy with less water. Grass needs about an inch of water each week.
- Early morning is the best time to water. Its still cool, so all that valuable water wont evaporate in the hot sun. Wrap up your watering as close to sunrise as possible. If sunrise is at 6 a.m., you should be done watering at 6.
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What Happens If I Don’t Water My Lawn
The grass plants will eventually become dormant and will dry out. Your lawn will look very brown and yellow, and weeds will start to take over fairly quickly.
The soil will start to develop areas of localised compaction , and will require some form of renovation to fix.
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How Long To Water Your Lawn
It is ideal to water lawns about one inch of water per week. To determine how long you need to water to get one inch, place a plastic container in your yard and set a timer. On average, it will take 30 minutes to get a half inch of water. So, 20 minutes, three times per week will give a lawn about an inch of water.
This formula works best with healthy, well-cultivated soil. Healthy soil provides excellent drainage while also providing just the right amount of water retention at the root zone, where grass needs it most. Poor soil with inadequate drainage will cause soil to become waterlogged, while soil devoid of organic matter will cause water to drain, leaving soil unnecessarily dry.
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Local & Seasonal Weather
Weather obviously plays a large role in how often to water your lawn. Whether it is hot and sunny, rainy, or cold will dictate the needs of your grass. Most lawns do best with about one inch of water per week, however this may be a bit different if you are in a particularly hot and dry climate or if youre experiencing a lot of rain already.
Grasses can also become dormant under certain conditions. Dormancy is when the grass basically falls asleep it is not dead grass despite the misconception due to its brown colour or a duller shade of green. In temperatures below 40 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, grass can become dormant and stop growing. In these kinds of temperatures, it may not serve much purpose to water a lawn until it warms up or cools down.
When To Water Your Lawn
As youve probably heard, watering early is the way to go. Cutler recommends the window between 5 a.m and 10 a.m., and for a couple of reasons. Not only do you want to beat the heat of day, when too much H2O gets lost to evaporation, you also want to get the job done before the wind kicks up and messes with your sprinkler patterns, making it tough to water evenly. Breezy conditions = inefficiency.
Golf courses sometimes water in the dead of night, but thats out of necessity, Cutler says , and he doesnt recommend it. When you water after dark, you open the door to fungus and mildew, which creep in when moisture sits for too long on the grass.
When you water after dark, you open the door to fungus and mildew
The perils of these problems are especially pronounced right after mowing, when turf is in a bruised and vulnerable state . So, when you cut your turf, allow it time to recover before you water . And, of course, if you mowed that afternoon, its an especially bad idea to water that night.
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Water Requirements For Lawns
As a general rule, lawn grass needs about one inch of water per week. This figure may change, though, depending on your soil type. Proper drainage in goes in hand-in-hand with meeting the water requirement of a lawn. To achieve proper drainage, a balance must be struck:
- If the composition of your soil is too sandy, water will run right through it as if it were a sieve. So giving your lawn one inch of water per week if it is growing in this kind of soil will not keep it adequately irrigated.
- But if your soil type has too much clay, it will retain too much water. Grassroots do not like to sit in water constantly. Diseases can result from this condition.
A loamy soil strikes the ideal balance for achieving proper drainage. It has sufficient organic matter for the right amount of water retention, and will not lead to waterlogged conditions.
Watering Your Lawn In The Evening
There are a few problems with Watering Your Lawn in the Evening.
The fact that evaporation is minimized is one of the reasons why some people feel that watering your grass is a good idea. Because the weather is colder, you may simply water the lawn without worrying about the water content being depleted.
In this manner, you will save a significant amount of water. Furthermore, watering your lawn at night improves the absorption capabilities of your turf.
However, there is one little snag: if excessive evaporation is bad, zero evaporation is even worse.
There are a variety of bacterial infections and fungal issues that may seriously injure your lawn, and your plants will not thrive in moist circumstances.
Because there wont be any sun to burn off the surplus water, it will simply sit there.
Given that you will be leaving the water on all night, you can only image the amount of damage that will be done to your plants.
Consider it this way: youre effectively turning your lawn into a petri dish with a slew of bacteria and other germs all hunting for new ways to harm your plants.
Obviously, this indicates that you should not water your plants in the afternoon, when it is the warmest time of the day.
So, when should you water your plants the most? So, lets get to the bottom of this!
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Watering Different Types Of Grass
The duration of watering and its frequency greatly depend on the type of lawn you are maintaining. Proper lawn care varies with the type of grass, but it also depends on several factors such as the season and the area in which you live.
Different types of lawns have different watering and maintenance needs. It is therefore important to pay attention to your type of lawn and its needs. Once you know how much and how to water your specific type of lawn, it will be easy for you to set up a watering schedule to get the best results year round.
What Are The Benefits Of Proper Lawn Watering
- Encourages deeper root growth, making grass more resilient against damage from pests, disease, and drought
- Supports a thick lawn that crowds weeds out by making it difficult for them to germinate
- Promotes efficient water use by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation, and watering at times or in areas it is not needed
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Smart Sprinkler System Controller
Add a smart irrigation controller, which acts like a thermostat for your sprinkler system by telling it when to turn on and off, to save water. Denver Water offers rebates for WaterSense-labeled controllers.
- During irrigation season, be aware that smart irrigation controllers must not operate between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. In rare conditions, the controllers may operate more than three days a week.
How Dry Is Too Dry
Conserving water is a good idea. Golf courses do it. Homeowners should do it, too. But how long can you let your lawn go without?
As with so much else in turf care, it depends. A hardy grass like Bermuda is camel-like in this regard: It can survive long bouts of deprivation. Not so with bentgrass in searing summer heat.
In drought conditions, grass does what it does in colder seasons: It goes dormant as a means of self-protection, redirecting moisture and nutrients to its roots. Its leaves turn color as a result. Dormant grass can be brought back to life just add water.
But dead grass? Well, dead grass is dead.
As with so much else in turf care, the durability of your lawn depends on many factors. But as a general rule, Cutler says, grass starts going dormant after two weeks without water. After a month, its apt to die.
How do you tell if your grass has crossed that line? One faithful indicator is its crown. Thats the thick, light colored part of the plant, just above the soil, right where the roots meet the shoots. Look closely. If theres still green in the crown, theres still life in your grass. If not, you might be out of luck.
Another way to tell is pretty simple, too: tug on the grass, Cutler says. If its roots remain intact, its probably still alive. If it uproots easily, its toast. Youll need to reseed to get it back.
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Applying Water Too Late
Its best to water your lawn in the early morning, before the sun heats up the day and causes more of your water to evaporate. If you must water later in the day, be sure to finish at least half an hour before sunset. That way, the grass can dry before the sun goes down, as damp grass and cooler air is the perfect combination for diseases and fungi to attack your lawn.
If youd like more advice on best practices for watering your lawn, call the lawn care experts at Clean Energy Maintenance at . We also install custom-designed automatic irrigation systems, which can include programmable schedules and rain sensors so your yard gets the precise amount of water it needs.
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Principles of Turfgrass Irrigation
Penn State Extension, Lackawanna County, Proper Water
When Your Lawn Is A High Traffic Area
If your children use your lawn for playing or your dog running around, you should make sure to water it regularly.
It may just be that there is lots of traffic with people just walking on the lawn. However, this will stress the grass, and it will need more water than usual. This is especially true in the hotter dry months when the grass of your lawn is more dormant.
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How Much To Water
Thoroughly wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches with each watering. Shallow watering produces weak, shallow-rooted grass that is more susceptible to drought stress.
Soil type, sprinkler style and water pressure determine how much water is needed to wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches and how long a sprinkler must run. Use the following steps to determine how long to run your sprinkler or irrigation system.
- Set five to six open-top cans randomly on the lawn .
- Turn the sprinkler head or system on for 30 minutes.
- Measure and record the depth of water caught in each individual can.
- Calculate the average depth of water from all of the cans. For example, you have used five cans in your yard. The amount of water found in the cans was as follows: 0.5 inch, 0.4 inch,0.6 inch, 0.4 inch, and 0.6 inch. Add the depths together and then divide by the number of cans you used
- 1.5inch + 0.4 inch + 0.6 inch + 0.4 inch + 1.6 inch = 2.5 inches, 5 cans = 0.5 inch of water in 30 minutes