Watering Your Lawn

Watering a lawn in the proper manner is one of the most misunderstood and most neccessary steps in keeping up a healthy, attractive lawn. Most people water there lawn too long and not often enough.


Here are some awesome guidelines for lawn watering


To ensure the most effective and efficient method to properly water your lawn. First of all soak your lawn only to the depth of the root zone and no further. Each time you water you should moisten the soil to a depth of 6-8 in. when watering bluegrass and 8-11 in. on other grasses. This will ensure that you water only to the grass’s active root zone. The length of time and amount of water it will take to moisten the root zone depend on soil type and the irrigation system. Sandy soils will be penetrated more quickly and more deeply than clay and other softer soils.



To determine the length of time required to moisten your lawn’s root zone:

This is an awesome formula given by a well known University…Run the sprinklers for 15 minutes. Twenty-four hours later, dig a small hole in the ground or use a probe to determine how deeply the soil is moistened. You will use this information to determine how long to water each time. To calculate the number of minutes to water the lawn divide 120 by the depth of the moistened soil in inches. For example, if the water soaked in 4 in., figure 120/4 = 30 minutes. It would take an hour to soak in eight inches. If it soaked in 6 in., the lawn should be watered for 20 minutes (120/6 in. = 20 minutes). However, bluegrass has a shallower root system than other grasses; it needs to be soaked to a depth of only 6-8 in. (instead of 8-12 in). Take the second example above: In 15 minutes, water soaked in 6 in. You would need to water a bluegrass lawn for only 15 minutes instead of the 20 minutes calculated for other types of grass. Once the length of the watering period is established, use the same period each time you water, no matter what the season. If water starts to run off the lawn before the end of the watering period, turn the water off for one hour and let the water soak in; then turn the sprinklers back on and finish watering.

Runoff is sometimes caused by excess thatch. If thatch is more than 1/2 in. thick, the lawn should be dethatched. Dethatch cool-season lawns (bluegrass or fescue) in early spring or late summer. Dethatch bermuda grass lawns in late spring. Proper mowing, watering and fertilization can reduce the buildup of thatch. To reduce thatch buildup, avoid overwatering the lawn.

When the lawn needs water the grass will take on a bluish or dull green color and the blades will begin to fold or roll. Footprints will remain visible after the lawn is walked on. Tree and shrub roots competing with the turf will require additional water. Once a month soak the soil very deep to encourage tree and shrub root development below the turf root zone. Leave the sprinklers on three times the normal time or use a soaker hose under the entire tree canopy.

  • The best time of day to water is in the early morning. Less water evaporates if lawns are watered when temperatures are cool and winds are calm. These conditions occur most frequently in early morning.
  • Late afternoon and evening watering also reduces evaporation losses if winds are calm, but tends to encourage disease because the grass stays moist all night. Many of the fungus diseases that affect grass require water droplets or high humidity to sporulate and infect the plants.
  • Midday watering is more convenient for many people and does not harm the lawn. However, more water is lost to evaporation. In most situations sprinklers are the most effective way to water lawns.

Flood irrigation can also be used on level lawns where a water source is available. Sprinkler spray patterns should overlap 80-100% depending on the type of sprinkler system that is installed. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper sprinkler installation. A good system must provide even water distribution to all grassed areas. The water must be applied to only the grassed areas, not to walls, sidewalks, driveways or streets. Use the can test described above to gauge uniformity. Most sprinkler heads have a spring adjustment to control the flow of water. Sprinklers that water less than a full circle can be adjusted to direct water away from walls and paved areas. If some sprinkler heads have been replaced, it may be necessary to replace all of the sprinkler heads in order to achieve uniform application. Maybe this will assist you in watering your lawn.

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