Ensuring a healthy, lush, green lawn doesn’t have to waste one of Earth’s natural resources – water, if you maintain proper watering techniques. Proper watering, along with fertilizing, and mowing practices can help prevent a host of problems including: bald patches, insect infiltration, and disease. Below are some basic guidelines for ensuring your lawn receives just the right amount of water this summer.
How Much Water Does Your Grass Need?
To maintain a lush, healthy lawn, you should completely wet the root zone each time you water. To accomplish this, grass should be watered to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, once every three days during the summer months (June through August). While it may be tempting to water every day, it is not necessary, and is in fact wasteful and expensive. Watering every day can also negatively affect your lawn’s growth.
Here’s a test to determine if more water is needed. Using a ten-inch soil probe, sharpened piece of rebar or a very long screwdriver, try pushing it into the ground one hour after watering. If it goes in easily, no water is needed, whereas water is needed if it won’t penetrate the soil. Water your lawn until you can easily slide the probe to the recommended depth of 6 to 10 inches.
When Should You Water Your Grass?
In the desert, watering in the evenings or early morning hours are the most effective times to water, because wind and evaporation are lower. High winds can distort sprinkler patterns and produce non-uniform irrigation. By watering in the evening or early morning hours, you promote deeper root growth, which ultimately makes your lawn more water efficient.
How Long Should You Water?
Now that you know how much water your lawn needs, and when you should water, it is important to understand the length of time required to get the recommended amount. How long you should water depends upon the output of your sprinkler system. On average according to Water, Use It Wisely, pop-up sprinklers apply 0.4 inches of water and impact sprinklers apply 0.2 inches in 15 minutes.
You can; however, expect to see some variation depending on the conditions. If you notice a big difference – greater than 0.2 inches – then you may want to contact a professional landscape and sprinkler repair expert in order to get more uniform, and as a result more efficient, coverage. To measure your sprinkler systems’ output, follow the steps outlined below.
- Collect four to eight shallow cans.
- Spread cans around your lawn, 4-5 inches apart.
- Turn on entire sprinkler system, and leave on for 15 minutes.
- Once the sprinklers turn-off, measure the depth of water in each can.
- Record the numbers on the test can worksheet, found on wateruseitwisely.com, and calculate your sprinkler number according to their directions.