Watering your lawn is one of the easier chores we have to do, especially as most of us forget about it and let the sprinklers do the work. However, there are a few simple things to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your grass. This article should take you through the main points.
Smart Ways To Water Your Lawn
The Best Time To Water Your Lawn
The first question to ask about watering your lawn is when the best time is to do it. A lot of people don’t think about when sprinklers should come on and just do it at a time that’s best for them. Of course, convenience is important, but then watering grass at the wrong time of day could have a detrimental effect on its growth.
It has been proven that the ideal time for watering your lawn is early in the morning, preferably before 10 am. The simple logic behind this is that it is still quite cold, allowing the grass to take advantage of the water before it evaporates. The other benefit is that it means the grass has the full day ahead in which to dry.
It may not be possible for everybody to water their grass in the morning. This should not have too much of an impact on the health of their lawn, but it is important that they don’t water in the middle of the day, or overnight. Instead, the next best option for watering is late afternoon before the weather becomes too cool. This way, it is not so hot that the water evaporates, but it also has time to dry before it gets too cold. If you wait until later in the evening, the grass will stay wet, and fungus is likely to grow.
How Much Water?
Now that you know when to water your lawn, you need to know how much water your grass needs for its optimum, healthy growth. The answer to this is to water your grass for long enough so that the soil stays damp six inches below ground level. This is generally about one inch of water, but different lawns and different soil types will vary.
If you are unsure that you are hitting this six-inch mark, the simplest test is to use a screwdriver. When wet, soil becomes easy to penetrate, and a tool such as a screwdriver should slide right in without a struggle. If you have a screwdriver about six inches long, see if it can sink into the ground far enough without force, and you will know if you have watered enough.
If you are using sprinklers, you can do some math to see if they are getting the job done. 0.62 gallons of water is the amount needed for one inch per square foot. Multiply this by the size of your lawn. Then you can work out how long your sprinklers should be on for by comparing with their flow rate.
While it is necessary to get enough water, you shouldn’t be watering your lawn too often. Grass does not need to be watered frequently, like your flowers and pot plants do. Instead, you should water your lawn no more than twice a week. If you water too often, you will encourage fungus to appear in the grass, which can cause a lot of damage. By watering less frequently but deeply, you can teach the roots to grow further down.
One of the reasons why watering your lawn isn’t such a chore is because your sprinklers do most of the work. It is easy to forget about watering the grass when your sprinklers do it for you every time. As a result, many people assume that they don’t need to worry about how their grass is maintained or whether they are doing it right. In fact, there are still some things to keep in mind when using sprinklers.
Firstly, sprinklers should be pulsating rather than oscillating. These pulsating sprinklers connect to your hose and fire water out across the lawn repeatedly. Each blast of water is done at a high speed, which prevents it from getting caught in the wind. This means you can efficiently water the entire lawn without much waste.
Alternatively, oscillating sprinklers are available. These are less efficient as they continuously spray water across the grass at a much lower velocity, meaning some of it can get carried by the wind and lost. However, they are beneficial for new grass. If you have recently planted your grass, it is important that you don’t water so much that the seeds are pushed around, as this will stop the new grass from growing.
The intensity of pulsating sprinklers is likely to cause this problem, so they should only be used on well-established lawns. Oscillating sprinklers are more gentle and less powerful, giving a new lawn the light watering it needs without soaking the soil.
Now that you know how and when you should water your grass, there are a few extra tips to help keep your garden as fresh and healthy as possible.
The first of these tips is to invest in a timer. A lot of people will keep checking their watch to see if they have watered the lawn for long enough, and not enough people will switch the sprinklers off on time as a result. This can be really problematic if you need to water for a long period of time, as it is easy to forget and end up drowning your grass. This will inevitably lead to fungus problems, so it is important to be punctual.
Buying a timer at your local garden center can solve this problem completely. They are very affordable, often as low as $10, and they make all the difference. Using a timer means that the sprinklers will switch off automatically, so you can forget about it and watch the TV. Some will even measure the flow rate for you to check you are watering enough.
Another tip is for those who live in recently developed housing, who might suffer from hard topsoil. Often, when topsoil is removed during development, the soil in a garden can be too hard and firm to allow water to soak through it. This makes it difficult to reach that magic six-inch mark. If this is the case, the best way to soften the ground is to water in layers. After each period of watering, leave the soil to soak up as much as it can before watering again.
Finally, a good thing to remember is that you don’t need to water your grass if it isn’t convenient for you. As long as there isn’t a month-long drought, your grass should be fine by itself. However, if you want to leave it, then don’t go back, as irregular watering will damage your lawn.