Lawn watering tips for
Regular watering is a critical element in a healthy, vibrant lawn. That means it should receive about 1" of water each week throughout the season. If we don't receive that much through natural rainfall, then ideally, it should be supplemented. Here are a few tips to help produce the best results with the least amount of supplemental water:
Avoid over watering
Use a rain gauge to measure how much water you're applying. Over watering does more than deplete the water supply, it also makes plants prone to pests and adds to storm water runoff, which pollutes our water systems. By choosing and operating a watering system correctly, you can reduce water bills, insect and disease problems, and maintenance requirements. For example, the more you water your lawn, the faster it grows and the more it needs to be mowed.
Water as infrequently as possible
Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil, or when summer patch disease is a problem. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass).
Water early in the day if possible
Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday watering due to excessive evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases gaining a foothold. The exception to this guide is when you are in extremely hot weather and nighttime temperatures don't go below 68 degrees. Then it is better to water in the late afternoon or early evening, providing you don't have watering-time restrictions. Early or late in the day reduces the amount of evaporation that takes place during the very hot day, allowing more water to reach the root zone.
Spread the water uniformly across the lawn
Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns, and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn can help measure water application rates. Avoid flooding areas, or missing other spots. On heavy clay soils and slopes, watch for excessive runoff; it may be necessary to apply the water in several applications to allow for adequate penetration.
In periods of high temperature and reduced rainfall, and to help conserve water, mow your lawn at a higher than normal height, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction. Don't allow water to hit the driveway or into the street. This is just wasteful.
The biggest factor in why lawns fail during extended dry spells, is that they weren't healthy going into the drought. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to make your lawn as healthy as possible when conditions are good for growing lawns. Part of Fairway Lawn's lawn care program is developing strong, healthy turf grass that can withstand periodic extreme conditions.