Proper watering is essential to having a beautiful lawn for the entire growing season. Knowing when to water, and how long to water, can save on watering bills and improve the quality of your lawn.

Watering should be done early in the day, between 6am and 10 am. Watering in the morning hours is recommended because it is usually less windy in the morning which reduces water drift and evaporation. Watering in the morning also provides your lawn with the water it needs to stay healthy during times of stress such as extreme heat and foot traffic. Watering in the evening or at night is strongly discouraged because when water is left on the plant surface for prolonged periods disease and fungal activity increase. In general, watering should be done for thirty to forty five minutes in sunny areas and for between fifteen and thirty minutes in shady areas. I have found that many people water for only ten to twenty minutes at a time. Light watering such as this does not provide the needed water to the plant and actually wastes water. Deep watering is needed to get the water down to the root system. Remember when you water some water evaporates due to wind and drift. Water also evaporates from the dead material and thatch in your lawn that needs to be soaked by the water before any water gets to the root systems. As much as fifty percent of the water you provide is wasted due to these factors so deep watering is recommended.

Knowing how often to water is not an exact science. Different seasons have different watering needs. Your lawn needs much less water in May when the temperatures might be in the 60’s or 70’s as opposed to July or August when temperatures can be in the high 80’s or 90’s for several days. Many people set their sprinklers to come on every other day, for ten to twenty minutes per zone all season long. This practice wastes considerable water. Your lawn is over watered in the spring when it is not necessary and under watered in the summer when it needs the water. Typically you should water once a week for 30-45 minutes, when the temperature is below 75 degrees. When the temperature is between 75 degrees and 85 degrees you might need to water two to three days a week. During periods of heat when the temperature is above 85 degrees, you might have to water three to four days a week. I’ve seen very rare cases where temperatures stayed above 90 degrees for several days where lawns needed to be watered daily during that time. Mother Nature provides your lawn with water so that we will not need to use irrigation. Many people continue to irrigate their lawns even though it may have just rained recently. For example, if we have temperatures in the low 80’s for a few days to a week then you know you should water two to three times a week. If it rains during that week you should cut back on running your irrigation once during that week to compensate for the fact it rained during that period. This will in turn save water and will reduce your water bill, or you may need to use that water later in the year. Not all lawns are the same, the guidelines I have pointed out are generalities and you need to adjust things accordingly. Changing your watering practices a little bit can have a great benefit to your lawn and to your water bill.


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