Watering is a crucial part of any lawn care program. While this may not be a ground-breaking revelation, most homeowners simply just turn on the sprinklers and call it a day. Truth is, there’s more to watering a lawn than just soaking up the grass. You have to water your lawn just enough so that they grow properly and you don’t end up wasting precious resources.
If you’re unsure about how much water your lawn needs, then don’t worry. In this article, we’ll be going over several lawn-watering tips to ensure your front yard stays lush and vibrant.
The basics of watering your lawn
Lawn care is a year-round process. In most conditions, your lawn will require at least 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week, even in cold weather conditions. Keep in mind that you have to account for rainfall as well. Precipitation can be a godsend when it comes to lawn care so make sure you don’t overdo it with the sprinklers during the rainy months. Obviously, your lawn will need more water during summer due to the higher temperatures evaporating the water quickly.
To start with, you need to determine your soil type as this can affect how much and how often you’ll water your lawn. As for when you should water your lawn, the earlier the better. Watering in the morning can help you conserve water as the cooler temperatures won’t evaporate water quickly. No matter what happens, do not water your lawn at night as this can lead to problems like fungus and other bacterial diseases.
How to measure the amount of water your lawn receives
Most homeowners are wondering how on earth can they measure the amount of water their lawn receives. As complicated as it sounds, it’s really not that difficult. You only need a couple of things like:
- An empty tuna can
- A rain gauge
You can use either or both at the same time to get a more accurate measurement. To do this, place an empty tuna can on one spot and a rain gauge on the other and turn on your sprinkler for at least 15 minutes. After turning off the sprinklers, use a ruler to measure the amount of water collected in the tuna can and compare it to the amount in the rain gauge. If the tuna can collects about ¼ inch of water in 15 minutes, it means you should leave your sprinklers on for at least an hour.
You may want to adjust your sprinkler system when doing this test. Ideally, the streams should overlap slightly when you turn on the sprinklers. That way, both the tuna can and the rain gauge can collect equal amounts of water and give you a more precise result.
Factors that can affect your lawn watering
When it comes to watering your lawn, there are a couple of factors you need to consider as these can determine your lawn watering habits. These factors are:
- The climate and season in your location
- Water access
- Soil type and its ability to hold/retain water
- Lawn variety and its drought tolerance
- Environmental factors like how much wind, heat, or shade there is in your lawn
- The condition of your lawn
New lawn – If your lawn is freshly laid, you should water it a couple of times a day for the first few weeks. What this does is establish your lawn and allow the roots to set into the soil. To test how established your lawn is, gently lift a corner off a slab or roll. If it doesn’t lift easily, it means the roots are slowly setting in and your lawn is growing nicely as well.
Once your lawn has been fully established, you can resume watering your lawn to the recommended amount. Of course, this will still depend on the weather, climate conditions, and other factors we’ve previously mentioned.
Established lawn – Established lawns require less watering and in some cases, even less than the recommended amount. Some turf varieties like Buffalo grass are very drought-resistant and can survive with little to no watering. You can get away with just rainwater alone and you don’t have to turn on the sprinklers more often.
At this point, it’s much better to give your lawn a deep soaking rather than watering it every day. This helps promote deep root systems and make your lawn more drought-tolerant. Lawns that are watered using a shallow irrigation are unable to develop a deep root system, mainly because of its ability to acquire enough water at the surface discourages the roots from reaching deeper into the soil.
The last thing you want is to over-water your lawn. Over-watering can lead to soil compaction, shallow root systems, and a whole host of problems that are difficult to deal with. This is why it’s important to measure how much water your lawn is receiving so that you know when to turn the sprinklers. If you want to save up on water bills and ensure the health of your lawn, avoid leaving the sprinklers on for a prolonged period of time.
When you water your lawn correctly, you’re giving it the best chance to grow and thrive in even the harshest of conditions. Hopefully with this information, you’ll be able to determine how much water your lawn needs in order for it to grow as healthy as possible.