Watering your lawn can seem deceptively simple. You just turn on your sprinkler or hose and let the water flow, right? Actually, maintaining the right water levels at the right time is crucial for the health and beauty of your lawn, and there’s more to watering technique than you might realize.
If your lawn is not as beautiful as you wish, one of the first things you should suspect is your watering habits. Few things have as big of an impact on your lawn than watering, so figuring how to hydrate correctly is mission-critical.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn?
You can have too much of a good thing. Overwatering can promote fungus growth and can lead to shallow roots. In general, you want to water only about once or three times a week in most climates. If you have clay soil, once a week is probably enough. Otherwise, twice a week or about once every three days is ideal.
Do you know how to tell if you need to water your lawn? If your grass does not spring back and you notice your footprints don’t disappear as you walk on the grass, you need more water. You also need to water more if your grass is dull in color.
How to Properly Water My Lawn
More is not better. Figure out what’s right for your soil. No two lawns are the same, so time your watering. You want the water to penetrate six inches into the soil so that the entire root system is hydrated. The first time you water, time how long you water and use a shovel to gently turn the sod over so you can see whether you’re at six inches. Once you know how long it takes you to get down six inches, simply set your timer to water your lawn for that long.
If you live in a home you own, it’s ideal to have a sprinkler system installed. You’ll save quite a bit of time, enjoy a greener lawn and have more control over water pressure and watering.
What Is the Best Time of Day to Water My Lawn?
You should always aim to water your lawn in the mornings, before 10 a.m. In the middle of the day, especially during the summer, the water will evaporate quickly, and there may be wind that can blow the water droplets around. Watering in the evening can promote diseases and fungi because the water can cling to your blades of grass all night. The damp, dark conditions are perfect for fungus to grow.
When you water in the morning, the air is cool, and the water has plenty of time to absorb fully. When the sun comes out later in the day, any excess moisture will dry up in the sun or will blow away, reducing the risk of fungus.
If you don’t have time to water your lawn in the mornings, you can use sprinkler systems. You can also water on weekend mornings, when you may not have to get to work early.
Lawn Watering Tips
Are you serious about getting your lawn lush and gold-course perfect? Here are some tips to help you get the greenest blades possible:
- Get to know your soil. If you have hard soil because you live in a new development, water your lawn, let it soak in, and water again in thirty minutes. Your soil may be so hard that water can run off. If you have sandy soil, water more often, about every three days.
- Treat grass differently, depending on its life cycle. Grass that has been around longer is hardier. If you have just put down seeds, make sure you don’t blast the emerging blades of grass with a heavy stream. Intense water can actually wash away seeds, leaving you with bald spots, so be gentle.
- Adjust your watering for the weather. During seasons when you’re getting rain, an inch of water per run time may be enough. When things warm up outside and the sun is in full force, you may need two inches of water or more.
- Don’t water your lawn when you’re doing laundry or doing other water-intensive activities. You don’t want the changes in water pressure affecting your watering.
- Add an on-site water sensor to your sprinkler system. This device monitors conditions on your property and waters your lawn when it’s needed, saving you up to 50% of your exterior water bill.
What to Do If There Is a Drought
If there is a drought, you can actually let your lawn go dormant. While it’s not pretty, dormant grass is safe for up to two months if it is in good shape and has been well fed. This is important to know if your municipality has severely restricted water usage. If your grass is healthy, it will bounce back once cooler air temperatures and water returns after a short drought.
Why Is My Lawn Turning Brown?
If you’re wondering how to prevent brown spots on your lawn, start by looking at your watering schedule. Many people try to water often for a little bit at a time. This can actually lead to shallow root systems. In the summer months, the hot sun will damage roots that don’t go deep enough, causing brown spots. Less frequent watering that lasts longer is a better option.
Diseases, underwatering and weeds can also create brown spots. Make sure your sprinklers are correctly adjusted to hit all areas. Check to see whether diseases or weeds may be stealing nutrients from your grass, too.
What to Do If There Are Muddy Patches in Your Lawn
If there are muddy patches on your lawn, start by changing the water pressure. Strong streams of water, especially on younger grass, can actually cause damage. If you have a heavy stream of water aimed at your lawn and you overwater, you could also be harming your lawn.
Need More Help?
If you have questions about sprinklers or watering, or you need to set up a sprinkler system that takes the guesswork out of watering, contact Nature’s Helper. We’re happy to help, so contact us online or call us at (402) 334-2625.