Watering Tips for All Types of Lawns and Landscapes
- During the growing season you should adjust your watering schedule to the amount of precipitation that falls. You must also take the grass and soil type into consideration. Certain types of grass and soil require more water than others. Be sure not to cut the grass too short. Taller grass promotes water retention in all types of soil and weather conditions.
- One inch of water should be applied to your lawn each week between the hours of 6:00 am and 9:00 am. Never water in the evening, as the grass will remain wet until mid-morning the following day. This will promote fungal growth and insect infestation.
- If your soil is sandy, give three quarters of an inch of water every four days. Sand doesn't retain moisture and your lawn will need to be watered more frequently if rooted in sandy soil.
- When temperatures soar, you will need to water more frequently. Lawns that are rooted in clay or loam should be watered every three days and lawns that have a sand base should be watered every other day.
- If you over-water your lawn, fungal disease will set in and weeds will flourish. Allow the surface soil to dry out for one inch in depth between watering to kill off new weeds and insect larvae.
- If you aren't sure when your lawn needs to be watered, be vigilant for premature wilt. When this occurs, your grass will turn a bluish color, and if you walk on it, the grass won't spring back and you will be able to see your footprints. These are indications that your lawn needs water immediately to prevent it from entering a stage of dormancy, which will cause it to turn brown.
- Always measure the amount of water you apply to your lawn. Place a shallow can in the ground or place an old cup or dish under your sprinkler to measure the amount of water you are applying. This will help you to determine how long to leave your sprinkler on, and help you to prevent over-watering and conserve water.
- Trees have extensive root systems which absorb vast amounts of water and take it from your lawn. Water more frequently in areas of your lawn where trees grow to prevent grass from entering a stage of dormancy.
- In times of drought, you may face a water ban. When this happens your lawn will go into dormancy and turn brown, though the crowns will continue to live for a month to six weeks. Water at the rate of one-quarter of an inch per month to keep your lawn alive. This is best done at night to ensure that water isn't burnt off by the sun. Your lawn will remain dormant, but continue to live. Never give more than a quarter of an inch monthly in times of drought. This can cause the grass to come out of dormancy, and when it dries out, re-enter the dormant stage. This will cause the grass to be stressed and it will die.
- If you have steep terraces or slopes on your lawn, use a sprinkler system that uses a low water volume. This will give ample time for the lawn to absorb the water. If water volume is too heavy, it will run down the terrace or slope and not be absorbed. This will cause your grass to enter a dormant stage and can erode soil. Be sure to aerate terraces and slopes to ensure that water is absorbed into the soil.
If you have questions or would like more information on watering, call your local lawn care service or visit your local library.
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