Water is an essential ingredient for a healthy lawn, but knowing how to properly water your lawn will help keep your grass at its best and most vibrant. Over watering and under watering each cause their own problems. Hydrating your lawn just the right amount will prevent any major problems or diseases from taking over your yard.
The first factor to consider is when to water your lawn. There are several ways to check whether your lawn needs watering. If your lawn is grayish or dull in appearance, these are indications that it needs water. You can also see whether your lawn needs watering by walking on it. If your footprints in the grass do not disappear quickly, the grass blades are lacking the needed moisture to bounce back.
The time of day is an important factor in when to water as well. The best time of day to water your lawn is in the morning before 10am. This time of day is best as you avoid harsh heat, and there tends to be less wind. Under these conditions, water can soak into the soil where it is absorbed by grass roots, before it has the chance to evaporate. If you are unable to water in the morning, aim to water between 4 and 6pm. This will give your grass time to dry before nightfall. If you do not give it an adequate amount of time to dry, your grass will become susceptible to disease.
When watering your lawn, keep in mind that most lawns need around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. This amount includes rain water, so be sure to factor that in. This amount of water can be applied all at once, or you can divide it up into several waterings each week. Do not overwater your lawn. This is not only wasteful but when you over water, oxygen is removed from the soil and your grass can suffocate. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn until the top 6 – 8 inches of soil is wet.
When first growing a lawn, or patching a bare spot, you will use grass seed. Guidelines for watering grass seed are different. In order for grass seed to germinate, the seeds need to be kept damp consistently until their seedlings are able to establish roots. When seeds begin to sprout, it is very important to keep them moist. Even one day without moisture can actually kill newly formed sprouts. When caring for grass seed, water lightly one to two times per day. A light mist of water is all you need, as a harder spray can actually wash the seeds away. Once the grass emerges, continue watering once per day until the grass is tall enough that it is ready for its first mowing.
Grass that grows in shady areas uses less water than grass in direct sunlight. In these areas you can water less frequently. The only exception is grass growing directly under a tree. In these areas there is competition for water because the tree roots are seeking available moisture. Those areas will need to be watered more than other shaded areas.
From time to time, you will want to check your soil to see how well the water is penetrating it. Using a shovel, you can lift a layer of turf to inspect how well the grass roots are actually growing. If they do not reach beyond 2-3 inches, it is likely that your soil is compacted. If this is the case, aeration is recommended. Healthy grass roots are generally 4 inches deep in the soil.
A hose and watering nozzle work well for smaller lawns, but if you have a larger surface area you need to cover, a lawn water sprinkler is recommended. Figuring out the type of sprinkler you will want to use will depend on the size of your yard.
In-ground, pop-up sprinklers are buried under ground and operate on a timer. In-ground systems are very easy to use, but they require professional installation.
Oscillating sprinklers are a simple and more budget-friendly solution. You use them by hooking your oscillating sprinkler up to a hose and moving it around the lawn, paying careful attention to ensure all areas get equally watered.
Following these guidelines on how to properly water your lawn will help your lawn to grow and flourish, and stay healthy. Properly watering is one of the most important aspects of lawn care. If there is any area of lawn care that you need help with, please check out a list of the services Jack’s Lawn Care & Landscaping provides. We are here to help you keep your lawn in tip top shape!