Watering Lawns

SPRINKLER TEST

HOW MUCH WATER ARE YOU APPLYING?

Here is an easy way to find out.

Supplies Needed:  6 straight-sided, flat bottomed containers (coffee cups), a cardboard strip, and a ruler.
                                          **Note: The 6 containers should be the same size.

Directions:  Place the empty containers in various spots within reach of the sprinkler’s spray.  Run the sprinkler for 10 minutes.  Pour the water from the containers into one container.  Use the cardboard to dip it into the water container.  Measure the water mark on the cardboard.

If the cardboard               Apply water for:
measurement is:

0.25  240 minutes
0.50  120 minutes
0.75  80 minutes
1.00  60 minutes
1.25  48 minutes
1.50  40 minutes
1.75  34 minutes
2.00  30 minutes

Are some grasses more drought tolerant?  

Kentucky Bluegrass can survive extended periods of drought by slowing growth, turning straw colored and entering summer dormancy.  Once water becomes available again, it can initiate new growth from the crown of each plant.

Perennial Ryegrass has very little tolerance for dry conditions and usually doesn’t grow in non-irrigated areas.

Warm Season Grasses such as Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and St. Augustine grass actually prefer warm conditions and can tolerate most drought conditions due to their deep and extensive root systems.

How much water does my lawn need?

The amount water depends on the type of grass you have.  In general, applying 3/4″ to 1 inch per week is the sufficient during the hot summer months.  Rainfall and cooler temperatures means your lawn requires less water.

Too much or too little water?

Over watered lawns lead to excessive growth, summer fungal diseases and more frequent mowing.  Excessive watering of lawns also wastes water, increases the need for fertilizer and pesticide run-off. Too much water can be deadly.  When grass is over watered, the roots are unable to breathe, and eventually rot.  Often times an over watered lawn looks like it needs water, it will turn yellow and wilt.

Too little water during summer months your grass will go dormant.  Grass color will lighten and most lawns will recover when water returns.  You can tell when your lawn is thirsty by doing a foot test.  Walk across the grass and if it doesn’t “spring” back up and your footprints are visible, this is the first sign it needs water.

TIPS

Deep and infrequent watering will maintain a healthy root system and helps to reduce weed infestation.

Water your lawn slowly to allow it to soak into the soil and prevent wasteful run off.

Water in the early morning when evaporation is lowest (5am to 10am).

Mow your grass at the right height.  Longer grass increases the depth of the root system, shades the soil, and helps with drought tolerance.

Keep mower blade sharp.

Annual core aeration can loosen compacted soil and allow water to soak deeper into the ground.