Why Is Watering A Lawn So Important
As you know, nothing on this earth can survive without water, its the giver of life.
Its the same for your grass.
Water is the vehicle grass uses to draw nutrients from the soil. It does this through the roots and uses them during photosynthesis and the production of food.
Its also used to store sugars and carbohydrates the grass can use as food in times of need. In drought conditions or during the winter for example.
Keep These Tips In Mind When Watering A Cool
- Tall fescue has a deep root system and the highest drought tolerance of all the cool-season grass types.
- Lawns that are a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescues will go dormant during drought if not watered, but will revive when rain returns.
There are tons of ways to water your lawn, from sprinklers to smart watering solutions. Each has their own sets of benefits, so choose the solution that works best for you and your lawn. Below are a few methods to consider.
Pulsating sprinklers : These shoot water horizontally at a high velocity so the water isnt affected by wind.
Hose-end sprinklers: Great for small- to medium-size lawns. There are many different types, so you can choose the one that fits your lawn best.
In-ground sprinklers: These can deliver water in the most efficient pattern. Choose sprinklers that are low to the ground and use a horizontal spray pattern for best results.
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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Watering Your Lawn Automatically
There are many different ways to efficiently and automatically water your lawn. There are a few factors you should take into account. Ask yourself the following questions: How much water will I need? How large an area do I need to cover? What shape is my lawn? Is there anything nearby that cant get wet?
Here are a few popular types of sprinklers to consider:
- In-ground sprinklers These systems can be expensive, but are highly efficient. The sprinkler heads pop up automatically to water, and pop right back down when the watering is done, delivering a precise amount of water.
- Pulsating sprinklers This type shoots out water horizontally in a powerful stream, covering a large area easily. Grassroots get the level of moisture they need quickly. However, the pulsing might be too intense for newly seeded or sodded lawns.
- Oscillating sprinklers These are a good alternative for newly seeded lawns, since the force of the water is weaker, and you still get good coverage.
- Hose-end sprinklers These traditional sprinklers are the most common and come in many different types.
Make sure your automatic sprinkler is doing its job, when it needs to do its job. If the forecast calls for a lot of rain, adjust the settings accordingly. Also, make sure it isnt pointed at the streetyou dont want to soak any passersby.
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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How Much Water Does Your Lawn Really Need
Summer is creeping around the corner, and youre looking forward to adding some new landscaping elements to your yard: a new tree, and maybe some new shrubs and flowers. As you prep to move into the summer season, you find yourself asking, how much water does my lawn actually need? There are a few ways to answer this question, and today we dive into those options.
Lawn Watering in General
The ideal amount of water for a lawn truly depends on a number of factors, so there is no perfect number, but there are some general best practices that everyone can follow. First, its recommended during one week to water your lawn between one and one and a half inches worth of water. This is a cumulative number, so if there are three thunderstorms in one week, your irrigation system problem wont need to contribute.
Its also recommended to water your lawn a few times per week, but not necessarily every single day. A lawn that is watered a few minutes each day will develop shallow roots, which ultimately isnt the healthiest lawn. If you water your lawn a little more infrequently, but with more water, it gives the water the opportunity to reach further into the soil and establish strong, deep roots, the cornerstone of a healthy lawn.
Lawn Watering Specifics
There are a number of characteristics of a lawn that impact the ideal amount of water it should be receiving.
When Should I Water My Lawn
Timing is actually pretty essential when it comes to how to water your lawn. You want to focus on early morning watering — think pre-dawn or dawn. Why? This helps prevent evapotranspiration, which means youre losing less water to the intense sun that comes mid-day. This also saves you money on watering because each drop of water is maximized. You want to avoid watering at night because it can cause extensive disease pressure on the lawn. The combination of heat and humidity mixed with water can enhance the potential for pressure from diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, and others.
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How Often To Water Your Lawn
Watering grass daily will result in a shallow root system. And shallow root systems dry out fast, weakening lawns. Infrequent, deep watering encourages grass roots to run deep, developing strong systems below-ground. This allows lawns to be more resilient to changing weather while becoming hardier and disease resistant.
The average lawn needs to be watered three times per week during warm months, providing a total of about one inch of water over the course of the week. Lawns can be watered as little as one to two times per week to achieve the same goal in cooler seasons, when there is naturally less evaporation and a higher chance of rainfall.
Watering Tips And Guidelines For An Established Lawn:
The following rules will help you determine if you should water your lawn:
- When temperatures exceed 85 degrees, watering is highly recommended and should be increased to avoid dormancy and browning of turf.
- In general, it is more beneficial to water less often and more deeply. This helps promote deep root growth, which, in turn, allows your grass to go longer between watering.
- Shady areas need less water than sunny areas. Likewise, low areas require less water than hills.
- Under watering leads to dormancy. It can take a week of watering to have a dormant lawn green up again.
- Water in the morning, rather than in the evening or mid-day. This allows more water to penetrate the soil and can help prevent fungal disease.
- Sprinkler systems are wonderful. Unattended sprinkler systems frequently waste water and lead to an unhealthy lawn.
- Over watering leads to shallow roots, increased thatch, and an environment that promotes fungal disease and weed growth.
- Know your soil. Clay soils need less water than sandy soils conversely, sandy soils require more frequent watering than clay soils.
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Misconception #: The Worst Thing I Can Do Is Under
We hear a lot of concerns about under-watering, but the truth is that overwatering can be just as badmaybe even worse. When soil becomes oversaturated, it can become waterlogged and you can actually drown your grass roots. An overwatered lawn is also more prone to lawn diseases.
Lawns need approximately 1 to 2 inches of water each week in order to stay healthy and green. The best way for lawns to receive that water is through a slow and soaking rain . Just be careful not to assume a downpour has given you ample water. Stick a finger down into the first few inches of soil and get a sense of how moist it is.
We also recommend putting a rain gauge outdoors to measure rainfall. When you do need to water, place a shallow can halfway between your sprinkler head and its furthest point of spray. This will help you tell how much water your lawn is receiving during your supplemental watering sessions. You dont need to be watering your lawn every day, but instead just need to ensure that its getting its weekly 1 to 2 inches of water with about 2-3 waterings per week.
Prepare For A Drought
Management practices in the fall and spring determine the drought tolerance of the lawn in summer. To reduce the need for irrigation, your lawn management program should maximize root volume and depth in preparation for summer drought. By the time summer arrives, you can do little to help a lawn except mow and irrigate properly.
The following lawn-care tips will help reduce the need for irrigation and increase the chance of surviving summer drought.
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Best Time Of Day To Water Your Lawn
The best time to water your lawn is before 10 a.m., preferably between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. At this cool time of day, its less likely the moisture will evaporate before your grassroots can absorb it from the soil.
If you cant water before 10 a.m., dont make the mistake of watering late at night. It may be cool then, but if the moisture sits on your grass overnight, it can make your lawn more prone to disease. The second-best time to water is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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 .
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Watering Lawns In Hot & Dry Seasons
In hot and dry weather, a lawn may be best served with more frequent waterings. Above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, grass will often fall dormant anyways. You might be able to prevent that if you can keep your turf cool with sprinklers a few times a week. If your grass is browning, dont worry. Your grass is not dead and should turn right back to green when it cools down after watering.
No matter the season, it is best to water in the morning before 10am to ensure that your lawn has enough time to absorb that moisture without the sun and heat evaporating it. Alternatively, but still less ideal, watering at dusk is another option that allows the moisture to soak in without lingering too long and potentially allowing mold to grow and kill your lawn.
How To Test Moisture Depth In Your Yard
To test the depth of moisture in your yard, push a spade or stake into the ground two to four hours after watering, and measure how far down the soil is moist. Generally the spade will move more easily in damp soil, so youll likely feel when you hit dry dirt. If the earth is dry less than six inches down, increase the watering time.
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Misconception #: Watering My Lawn By Hand Is The Best Method
Watering your lawn by hand can be deceiving. It seems like youre getting ample water everywhere but you may actually be causing it to pool in certain areas or even run off. Oftentimes a lawn that is watered solely by hand is not receiving as much as you think.
The best method to water your lawn is to use sprinklers that mimic slow, soaking rain. Hand watering works fine for very small patches of grass where youve planted new grass seed or for container plants but when it comes to your lawn as a whole, stick to sprinklers for the best results.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn In The Summer
Every living thing needs water, and your grass is no exception.
But simply remembering to water your lawn isnt enough. Theres a right way and a wrong way to do it, as anyone in the PA landscape construction industry can tell you.
For example, if youre not generous enough with your watering, the roots of the grass wont grow deeply, leaving your lawn in trouble at the height of summer.
And if you decided to run your sprinkler system after dark, your lawn can become too moist, leaving it open to mold and, eventually, disease.
Before you start watering, follow these steps.
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What Happens If My Lawn Gets Too Much Water
Too much water can damage your lawn, or even your homes foundation. Grass cannot grow properly in areas with standing water or spongy soil, which allows moss to develop. You may choose to re-grade your yard, amend heavy clay soil with organic matter to improve drainage, or install a rain garden or mulch bed in low spots that frequently fill with standing water.
How To Tell If Your Lawn Has Been Watered Enough
There are some simple tricks that will determine if a lawn is receiving enough water. First, does it look healthy? If it looks healthy, then it probably is which means stick to what you are doing. Another way to determine if your lawn needs to be watered is to submerge a screwdriver into the grass. If it easily sinks 6 to 7 inches, then your lawn is receiving an adequate amount of water each week. If not, it is probably time to make a change to your watering routine.
Be ready for changing weather and be aware of when a lawn needs more feeding and fertilizing. Give lawns an organic fertilizer and compost in fall and spring and cut back on watering when dry days turn to rainy ones.
If you see mushrooms growing in your grass, it is most likely due to overwatering. The best next step is to decrease the amount of watering until the mushrooms are gone.
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When To Water The Lawn
If you find your lawn has taken on a grayish cast or appears to be dull green, its telling you that it needs water. You can also check your lawn by walking on it: If your footprints dont disappear quickly, its because the grass blades dont have the needed moisture to spring back. While it may seem like you can head out to water your lawn anytime during the day, your lawn actually needs more specific care. Watering in the morning is the best time for your lawn its cooler and winds tend to be calmer so water can soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots before it can evaporate. If you must water in the evening, try between 4 and 6 p.m. which should give the grass blades time to dry before nightfall. The later you water, the greater chance of disease becoming prevalent in your lawn. Its worth noting, though, that you dont necessarily have to water your lawn. Lawns are resilient. Established and properly cared-for lawns can survive weeks without water by going dormant , then recover once the rain returns.