Watering the Lawn

Posted by John Penton on Monday, April 20th, 2009 at 10:26pm.

Maintaining a consistent watering schedule is key to thick, beautiful and healthy grass. It will prevent heat stress that breaks down the pre-emergent weed and crabgrass barrier that are established with the first two fertilizer applications in April and late May / early June. Signs of a lack of water include thin turf, browning turf, and graying turf. Weeds and crabgrass will break through if water is not consistently applied to the grass!

Ideally you will want to water 3 times per week for a total of 1 inch (during spring and fall) to 1.5 inches (during summer and extended periods of drought) per week. Remember to adjust watering frequency and amounts with what mother nature provides; i.e. don't water the day after a 2 inch rainfall. Avoid light daily watering which will weaken the root system, rather water deep every 2-3 days to strengthen the plant roots.

How do you know if you are putting the correct amount of water down with your automatic or manual sprinkler system? The most effective method is to place a rain gauge in the yard and measure how much water goes down in a certain time. During the heat of the summer, typically you will find that 1 hour in each area 3 days a week will provide the necessary moisture. During spring and fall, 15-30 minutes of water in each area, 3 times a week, may be all you need. Keep in mind that wide open areas exposed to all day sun will need more water than shaded areas and adjust water amounts accordingly. If the grass does not spring back up after walking on it or begins to show a gray appearance it's time to water.

Is it possible to over water? Absolutely! Not only is over watering wasteful it too can have detrimental effects on grass such as creating the ideal environment for the development of fungus and other turf grass diseases. A general rule of thumb is 1 to 1.5 inches per week in two to three waterings.

Water 1-1.5 inches per week.

Avoid watering every day or even every other day.

Water deep to increase root development.

Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Penton Enterprises
Lawn and Landscape Management

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