Learn the best time to water your lawn, how often, soil considerations and what to do during extreme weather.
WATERING YOUR LAWN — Morning is absolutely the best time to water your lawn, and if you’re not a crack-of-dawn kind of person then I hope your sprinklers are set.
Morning is best for two reasons. When you water in the middle of the day, you will waste a lot of water because of evaporation. When you water in the evening, your grass could grow fungus and turn brown. Most people set their timers for some time between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Automatic sprinklers have led many to believe that grass likes a regular, consistent watering schedule. You’ll conserve a lot of water and make your lawn more resilient if you try to water your lawn when it needs water instead of automatically.
The deeper the roots of your lawn, the less you will need to water. Unfortunately, most homeowners have their sprinklers set to water 15-20 minutes every other day, which encourages shallow and weak root growth. Watering deep will encourage the roots to follow the water and grow deeper.
To keep your lawn healthy and resistant to extreme or hot weather, water once every 7-10 days until the ground is saturated about 6 inches down. If you live in a dry area, you may need to water once or twice week. If you live in a wet area, you may only need to water when it hasn’t rained for a while. Depending on your soil type, it could take a few hours for the water to penetrate 6 inches into the ground.
You can perform a simple test to see how effective your current watering schedule is. After you water, use a spade or shovel to slice into your lawn to take a peek to see how far down the water has soaked into the soil. Check in a few places to see if the depth is consistent.
When you water, some goes into the ground like it should and some moisture goes into the air due to evaporation. For most areas, there is a time during the summer when things get really toasty and a lot of your water will be lost to evaporation. Your grass will look wilted and brown if it’s improperly watered.
During this hot season you may need to increase the number of days you water during the week or increase the time you water. Conversely, during the late fall you may need to cut back on water because the neighbor kids are looking for tadpoles in the new swamp by your mailbox.
Knowing your soil type will also help you determine how long to water. Soil is made up of two main materials—clay and sand. Water takes a very long time to soak into clay and only a few minutes to soak into pure sand. All dirt has a mixture of both clay and sand called loam and you’re the proud owner.
Sandy soil loses its moisture quickly and will require more frequent watering than loam that is heavy on the clay, which takes a lot longer to dry out.
Lawn Mowers and Fertilizer
Lawn mowers perform poorly when cutting soggy grass so you’ll want to coordinate the two activities. To prevent brown tips on your grass, you can water a day before you mow which gives the grass time to dry off or you can water shortly after you mow. Also, you’ll want to water an extra time after you have fertilized with a granular fertilizer to prevent it from hurting the grass.
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