Good Lawn Watering Habits and Tips
Water is extremely important for the health of your lawn – even more so in the dry and hot conditions of summer. Whether it comes from rainfall or irrigation, it is the life-blood of your lawn. Without water, your lawn will eventually die off. Here are some watering tips and advice to get you through the entire growing season.
Depth and Frequency of Watering
Water deeply once or twice per week, rather than watering a little bit each day. This point can be argued either way, but the fact is, whichever method you choose, you need to stay consistent. How deep you water can affect how deep the roots of the lawn will grow. In general, the deeper the root system, the more resistant the lawn will be against drought and heat. Thus, the ideal depth for watering is 1-2″ per week in a single watering. You can measure this by putting down a few cake pans in your lawn while your sprinklers are running. If you water a less than 1-2″, but you water every day or every other day, the roots will not grow as deep, since they do not need to go as far into the soil to absorb the water (it is always a light watering that stays at the surface). If you choose to put down less water on a more frequent basis, as most home owners do, be sure to be consistent during times of drought and high heat. If you stop watering for a week while on vacation, and we get a lot of high heat and no rain, your grass could turn brown while you are gone. Also, if the heat and drought is severe, you may want to give the lawn a splash of water during the hottest part of the day (usually the afternoon hours) to keep it healthy. Read more about helping your lawn survive summer drought.
Signs That Your Lawn Needs Water
There are a few signs that can help you determine if your lawn needs watered. First of all, if you walk across your lawn, and the grass did not bounce back up where you walked, it probably needs water. Beyond that level, the lawn will start to turn a purplish brown color. Eventually it will go dormant, and will appear a very light gold color. Once the lawn has died from extreme heat and drought, it will lay flat and turn a darker tan color until it decomposes or is overtaken by weeds.
Allowing Your Lawn to Go Dormant During the Summer
If you do not have an irrigation system, or you wish to conserve water (and/or money), you may want to let your lawn go dormant during the hot and dry summer months. This is perfectly acceptable, and is a natural part of the lifecycle of your lawn. Be aware, however, that during times of intense heat and drought, it is a good idea to give your lawn a deep watering at least once every few weeks. This will ensure that the root system stays healthy, and can help to prevent your lawn from being killed off by the drought conditions. Also keep in mind, that once you choose to allow your lawn to go dormant, you should let it stay dormant. It is not a good practice to allow your lawn to come in and out of dormancy multiple times during a growing season.
In summary, the watering needs of each lawn differ based on the weather conditions, soil type, amount of shade, thickness, type, & height of the turf, as well as the slope of the lawn. Depending on those factors, your lawn may need more or less water than your neighbor’s lawn. Remember to pick an approach and stay consistent throughout the entire growing season.