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Lawn watering tips and info. Read on to have the greenest lawn around.
Unfortunately the weather doesn’t always cooperate. When we need rain we don’t always get it (we won’t need rain for awhile after this week). That is why you must be prepared to water your lawn. An adequate amount of water is a must for maintaining the lush, green lawn we all want. The following guidelines can be adhered to with or without an irrigation system (hopefully, for your sake, with one).
It’s difficult for me to give you a perfect daily watering schedule. The diversity of areas and soils hold moisture differently. Various grass types require different watering needs. Lawns also have different watering requirements as the seasons change. If you need to plant new grass in some areas, or want to amend the soil take a look at our topsoil: https://grilloservices.com/topsoil-and-compost-ct/#jtabs-2
Determining when to water is much easier if you let the grass tell you. When grass starts to wilt it is time to water. Also when footprints and other marks mat down the grass for a prolonged period, it is probably time to water.
The amount of water is critical when determining if enough water is applied to wet the entire root zone. That plays a substantial factor in determining how deep a root system will grow (the deeper the better). Giving the lawn a short burst of water daily only waters the surface of the lawn.
This does not allow the water penetrate deep enough to build strong deep roots. Infrequent irrigation for longer periods of time allows the water to reach a depth of 4 to 6 inches. This encourages deep root growth and builds a healthy lawn that is much more likely to survive a drought (or those periods of time when we don’t feel like watering the lawn).
Even with rainfall, lawns need an inch or two of water per week to really thrive. You can use a rain gauge to determine how much additional water is needed (I found a cheap one here https://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Precision-2702N-Clear-Vu-Sprinkler/dp/B00002N62K)
What is the optimum amount of water for a lush lawn?
Since developing a strong root system is our goal we want to provide between 3/4″ and 1″ per irrigation session. Every sprinkler system is different. It is not possible to determine the amount of time required to put down 3/4″ – 1″ of water (that’s where the rain gauge can help).
If you don’t have a rain gauge you can spread some cans around the zones, turn on the sprinklers and measure the depth of the water after 30 minutes. Calculate how much time is needed to put down 3/4″ of an inch of water in that zone. Be sure to check the amount of water in each can. Sometimes different zones can discharge higher or lower amounts (especially older systems).
Another thing to consider is different sprinklers heads will put out different quantities of water. When lawns are watered to often it helps to promote sedge and dollarweed. When too little watering occurs the grass will first wilt, and eventually brown. As the grasses root system weakens more tolerant weeds can then develop.
Make sure to water early in the morning or early evening when there is less wind and heat. If possible water in the mornings only, grass is more susceptible to diseases during cooler nighttime temperatures (such as fungus’).
Dealing with dry spots, or brown areas
Most sprinkler systems will have a few dry spots. Again, with different sprinkler heads used in an overall irrigation design it’s important to check the output with the rainfall gauge. If brown areas exist in a lawn where an irrigation system is operating the only probable cause is that it is not putting out enough water to penetrate the root system.
For example, if one area of a zone gets 1/4″ of water and another part of the zone receives 3/4″ of irrigation (the proper amount required for healthy growth). The first area will dry out long before the second area needs to be watered again. Over time this will cause the area receiving less water to turn brown. This can lead to confusion if we were assuming the lawn received an even amount of water.
Watching to see if the sprinkler system is functioning with sprinkler heads throwing water is not enough to tell you if the grass is receiving adequate amounts of water. The only way to know for sure if enough water is being applied is measure the amount as described above.
If soil becomes very dry it can become hydrophobic. This is where the soil repels the water. When this condition happens the water cannot penetrate the soil and it remains dry. If this occurs it may take days of light watering to penetrate the hard soil layer.
Why you should water early in the morning
Watering early in the morning does not make the water stay on the turf longer than normal. When irrigating early the dew that normally forms on grass washes off any airborne disease spores. As the suns rises the leaves or grass blades can dry quickly.
Also early in the morning the air is usually calm and evaporation is low. Irrigation timers make it easy to implement an early morning watering routine. If this is an option for you just make sure all zones are finished by around 9am. This will give the grass the best chance of absorbing all possible water before it begins to evaporate.
Watering is important, but not our sole priority
Proper watering techniques are crucial for a healthy lawn. Other necessary evils are mowing, fertilizing, aerating, and weeding. These will all contribute to keeping a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood. I will get in depth with each of these at another time.
Below is another blog post that pertains to planting new grass and the steps involved.
With a little knowledge and a little hard work we can all have lawns like the one above (theoretically…). This should keep you well motivated. It’s good to remember that it is still springtime, a crucial growing period. We want our lawns to be as healthy as possible going into summer. So…start watering!