Every plant on earth needs a certain amount of water to keep it healthy and thriving. Turf grass requires more water than trees, shrubs and other plants because its roots are shallower than these larger plants. The larger the plant, the deeper its roots can go for water during hot months. Typically grass roots remain in the top 6” of soil where evaporation occurs making it important to get the proper amounts of water into your soil at the correct times.
Watering Practices to Live by:
The grass is greener, where you water it.
How Much? – There are many factors that come into play when it comes to watering your lawn because no two lawns are identical. A healthy maintained lawn needs 2” of water per week to keep it dense during summer months, but much less when the weather is cool and cloudy. The total amount of water you apply to your lawn will be the difference between required and what mother nature supplies, so make sure to keep an eye on the forecast! It is also important to remember that the roots of trees and shrubs need water too, so make sure to water them, especially in the hot summer months. The pressure of your water source, flat vs. sloped terrain and levels of shade are also factors to consider when it comes to watering your turf.
Frequency & Time of Day – The frequency of watering your lawn will depend on the weather. Most turf grasses only use about 1/10” of water per day when temperatures fair. A good way to determine the frequency is the “tuna can” method: place a tuna cans at varying distances from your sprinkler/hose, water the lawn and take note on how long it takes to fill half the can or .5” of water. The best time of day to water your lawn is between 5am and no later than 10am. If you water after noon (the hottest part of every day) the water will mostly evaporate before being able to disperse into the soil or be taken in by your grass. Watering at night is not recommended as the water will sit on the soil line too long and cause a breeding ground for disease.
Sprinkler Systems – For those who do not want to become consumed by the early morning ritual of watering the lawn, sprinkler systems or programmable timers are your answer. Timers can be hooked up to the spigot of your garden hose and be set to go for your specific needs. However, take precaution: millions of gallons of water are wasted each year through watering the turf. Make sure to follow these guides:
- Direct your sprinklers so they do not water your concrete surfaces such as the driveway
- Turn off the system or switch to rain delay when it rains
- Apply the “tuna can” method for accurate dispensing
- Make sure to take temperature, season, terrain and shade levels into consideration
- 2” of water per week (minus rainfall)