That beautiful lush green lawn is still just out of reach and on a lot of folks minds. Most of it comes down to water. Earlier this year we had nice temperatures and a lot of rain. Now it’s hot and no real chance of rain. Water is the key to life and new lawns need more. So how much and when should we be watering our yards, and is the water bill going to break the bank?
Check the Forecast
First the weather if your lawn starts looking brown keep an eye on the forecast. You don’t want to waste the time or money watering if it’s going to rain the next day. We have control of our sprinklers but not Mother Nature. Too much water can be just as detrimental as no water. Our lawns need to 1”-1 ½” of water per week every week summer or winter.
This is where a rain gauges becomes handy. They are fairly cheap or if you don’t want to run out and buy one it can always be improvised. A small old bowl, can or even a cut down bottle will work just fine.
Another great trick is to just keep an eye on your grass if Mother Nature isn’t providing a lot of rain. When you notice that it’s a dull green color and footprints or other tracks are leaving indentations in your lawn for more than 30 minutes it is a good sign that the grass is to dry.
When to Water
Whether you choose to water in the morning or the evening make sure that your lawn is not in direct sunlight.
Between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is good time to water because there is less wind and the sun has not fully risen. This will help reduce evaporation and help sprinklers apply water more evenly. Along with providing your yard with water throughout the hottest part of the day.
4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is a fairly common time for most people to water, it tends be when most of us have the time to do it right after work. These are also good hours because the sun is setting and temperatures are beginning to drop. Experts however warn that in some climates watering at night may cause mildew and fungus.
6 p.m. to 10 a.m. is when experts recommend lawns be watered in humid climates.
Timers are a great way to control when watering begins and how long it lasts. A timer is a great tool if you have an irregular schedule and to conserve water. They can however be pricey depending on the features that one may want. The options begin with a hardwired system or battery operated and range of the intervals of time that you may want one to operate on. A cheap one is just fine and no matter what you choose it will probably still require some attention.
How Long to Water
The amount of time that every homeowner spends watering will vary. Factors like water pressure, soil content and grass type all play a role in how long a lawn will need to be watered. It may only take 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
It’s About the Roots
In the end we need to get all of that precious water down to the roots of the grass. A good root base is what makes healthy grass. To build roots they need deep infrequent watering. Watering every day will make the roots shallow and they will be more dependant on the water every single day. This will lead to unhealthy grass that is prone to disease and unable to handle traffic.
Sprinklers are a lifesaver but require a lot of attention. Finding one that you like may be difficult. They don’t always spread the water evenly and may need to be moved around. In some cases this takes away from the convenience of having a timer. But it is important to be observant and make sure the water is going where it supposed to evenly. Standing puddles of water in your lawn can weaken the root system.
Leaving your grass a little bit tall in the heat of the summer will help protect the roots. The longer grass blades will act as shield and hold the moisture in preventing evaporation. It’s also a good idea to mow in a different direction from time to time. Mowing in the same pattern every time may stress your lawn with the extra traffic.
Heavy traffic lawns with lots of activity from pets children or parties will require more water than lawns that don’t have a lot of activity on them.