Sprinkler and Lawn Watering Tips
Knowing when to water your lawn and when to let it get thirsty can be tricky. We wanted to pass along some helpful lawn watering tips so you know when to water your lawn and how much to water, along with some sprinkler tips so you can prevent water waste and improve the overall health of your lawn.
Too much water is not a good thing. Leaving your sprinkler on all night leaves your lawn open to disease, mold and mildew problems.
And not enough water is also problematic. Forgetting to water at all leaves your lawn susceptible to drought conditions that cause stress and damage the plants. Dry soil encourages weed growth - for instance crabgrass thrives in hot dry conditions.
When Not To Water
It’s OK to let your lawn get a little thirsty. Frequent shallow waterings prevent your lawn from growing deep healthy roots. Let the lawn roots dig for the water a little. Lawns with deep root systems are hardier in drought periods and more resistant to disease, pests, and weeds.
It’s usually unnecessary to water in early spring, unless you’re trying to get grass seed growing. Try setting up a water gauge to measure how much water you’ve received. If only the very top layer of soil is dry, you can hold off on watering for a day or two in hot weather.
How To Tell Your Lawn Needs Water
Encourage your lawn to send out deep roots, that’s how you get a thick weed-resistant lawn. However, in the dog-days of summer your lawn will need more water than what rain provides. Walk across the grass and watch for wilting. If you leave foot imprints behind you that’s a good sign that your lawn is dry and needs water.
How Much Water Does Your Lawn Need?
Avoid wetting the top layer of soil or just the blades of grass. You want to water enough to reach 6 – 8 inches of soil to reach the roots. Plants absorb water most efficiently through their roots, so get the water to where it’s most needed.
- Place sprinklers or adjust heads to make sure the water isn’t being wasted on driveways, sidewalks, or other pavement.
- Watering late at night or after dark prevents the plant from drying and encourages mildew and fungus growth.
- Avoid using your sprinkler at the hottest times of the day as water is wasted to evaporation and wind.
- Deep and infrequent watering maintains a healthy root system and reduces weed infestation. Frequent shallow watering promotes seed germination and weed growth.
- Apply fertilizer in late summer or early fall to encourage root growth, drought tolerance, and early spring greening. Adding fertilizer in spring promotes quick growth which requires more water to maintain.
- Aerate your lawn in spring to allow water to penetrate soil deeper and more efficiently.
- Longer grass blades increase the depth of the root system, shade the soil, and help drought tolerance.
- If overseeding or planting new seed, water more frequently to allow seeds to germinate and take root.