Hey! Remember when your lawn was green and plush? That was about two weeks ago! What the heck happened? Well, of course you know what happened... it stopped raining and it got hot. Now it's time to bring your lawn back to life. Here are some simple rules to follow when watering your lawn.
WHAT TIME IS THE BEST TIME TO WATER?
Morning is the best time to water your lawn (before 10 a.m.) . The cooler air and soft breezes tend to be calmer so water can soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots. Higher wind can evaporate water before it sinks into the soil. For those how decided to water later in the day, the best time is right when you get home from work; assuming that's around 5-6PM. This will give the grass time to dry before nightfall. Water any later than that and you increase the chance of disease becoming prevalent in your lawn.
DO YOU HAVE TO WATER?
You don’t necessarily have to water your lawn. Lawns are resilient. Established and properly cared-for lawns can survive weeks without water by going dormant (when the lawn turns brown), then recover once the rain returns. You'll miss the green but you may not miss the mowing!
OK - IF YOU WATER - HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU WATER YOUR LAWN?
You're looking for the equivalent of 1 inch of rain per week. How you measure it depends.
You can actually check the soil to make sure the water has gone deep enough. Use a screwdrive and "check the oil". You should detect water down to 6 inches. Note how long it takes this to happen and that's the amount of time you need to water.
If your lucky enough to have a sprinkler system with a flow gauge use the measured flow rate (gallons per minute). Multiply the square footage of your lawn by 0.62 gallons (which is equal to 1 inch of water per square foot), then divide by the sprinkler flow rate. This will tell you the number of minutes to run your sprinkler system.
If you don't have a flow rate measurement, go the direct route! Place clean, empty tuna cans in various spots around the lawn and measure how long it takes to collect 1 inch of water in each can. Since sprinkler coverage patterns may vary throughout the lawn, use the average time it takes to fill all of the cans.
WATERING TOO FAST
When watering your lawn, you may begin to notice that your lawn isn’t absorbing water as quickly as it should. If you find that puddling occurs whenever you water, try watering in shorter cycles until the required time to apply the needed amount of water is met (for example, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 10 minutes on, etc.). Or simply move the sprinkler to different areas of the lawn over 10 minute periods.
For about $25 you can purchase water timers. These are to sprinklers what electrical timers are to christmas lights. You can set the time and the duration and the water will start and stop on a set schedule. You don't need to water your entire lawn at once. If you only have one hose, just more the sprinkler every day and over the course of the week you should be able to keep your entire lawn green and healthy. HAPPY MOWING!