What’s the biggest thing you can do during the week to help your lawn look great?Believe it or not, it starts with you! The single most important thing you can do to help us get your lawn in shape is understand how a lawn needs to be watered. Watering 10-15 minutes every day is a terrible start… Your lawn’s root system needs to grow 3 to 4 inches deep to be healthy in the hotter months. To do this means you need to water deeply and infrequently. Watering for short periods every day ensures water stays near the surface of the lawn. As a result, your roots don’t have to go far to get a drink. They are shallow and less tolerant to heat. Think of your roots as a glass of water. What are you going to want more when you are thirsty, a short glass or a tall glass? Your lawn is no different. When your roots have a day of no water, they drive deeper into the soil to access the deeper water. As a result, you have a heartier root system that is ready for hot temps, and thicker to prevent weed invasions.
To get your watering to penetrate the soil at least 3 inches you will want to water:
- 2 ½ – 3 Inches per week in the Summer
- 1 ½ – 2 Inches in the Spring & Fall
Try this simple approach
- Summer – “Start with 45”
- Spring & Fall – “Start with 30”
Start out with watering 3 days a week, or every other day for 30 minutes in the spring. See how the lawn is looking.
- If it is getting florescent green or mushrooms, back off 5 to 10 minutes per day.
If you aren’t getting enough water you will see:
- A blackish green at the onset of drought stress. This later turns to brown.
- Another early sign: silver footprints when you walk across the grass
- Dry brown areas
If this happens simply add 10 minutes to your timer, watch for a few days to a week to see if it’s getting better. Add or subtract minutes until you reach the point where your lawn is healthy without wasting water.
If you would like to be more precise try this:
Water on a 3 or 4 day a week schedule. Use a tuna can to measure how much water your sprinkler system puts out in a 30 minute period. Then adjust your timing accordingly to get the necessary amount each day.
For instance, if after 45 minutes you have an inch of water in the tuna can, you know you need to water 3 times a week for 3 inches of water per week.