Watering Tips for Green Grass All Season Long
Your lawn needs a lot of attention to get you the results you want! Whether it’s lawn aeration, overseeding, fertilizer applications, or weed removal, your lawn can be quite finnicky when it comes to producing a lush, green landscape. However, one of the most important tricks to keeping your lawn healthy is often overlooked: WATERING.
It may seem like watering your lawn is simply common sense, however, there are some tried and true steps you can take to ensure that you’re watering your lawn appropriately in order to attain the lush, green patch of grass that you desire. Read on!
Water in the Morning
We know, it’s not always easy to get out of bed before work, drag yourself outside, and turn on the sprinkler just to ensure your grass stays green. However, it really is just that simple (we’ll go into ways that you can make it easier on yourself later)! The AM is the best time to water your lawn because the air is cooler and there’s usually not as much wind in the early hours to blow the water away from your desired watering location. If you were to wait until the middle of the day, the water will evaporate quickly under the sun’s rays. Conversely, watering in the evening can cause the water droplets to cling to your grass overnight, risking lawn disease and/or fungus growth. Thus, the ideal window in which you should water is between 4AM & 10AM.
Soak 6 Inches Into the Soil
No lawn is the same when it comes to the length of time that you should water. However, there is a nifty trick you can use to determine the length of time YOUR lawn needs to be watered. To get the best results, your soil needs to be soaked about 6 inches into the soil to reach the depth of a healthy grass root system. On your first watering, check the soil every fifteen minutes. How? Easy! Grab your trusty shovel and choose a spot in the area being watered. Pull up a small chunk of sod and determine the amount of soil that has soaked. (You’ll only have to do this on the first watering and the root system where you momentarily removed the sod will recover quickly now that you have the proper watering schedule!) Make sure to keep track of the time it takes to reach the 6″ mark and use that as a reference for the duration of your watering sessions all season.
Use Pulsating Sprinklers, Not Oscillating Ones
By far, the most efficient sprinkler system is a permanently-installed in-ground irrigation system. It will pay for itself in the long run, and is an especially smart plan if you plan to stay at your home long-term. However, for homeowners without an irrigation system or no plans to stick around, a pulsating, revolving sprinkler is the next best option for an established lawn (see the next tip for newly-seeded lawns). Using a revolving, pulse-style sprinkler hooked up to a garden hose shoots the water out horizontally at a high velocity. This makes them less vulnerable to wind and evaporation as the oscillating type of sprinkler, which tend to spray the water straight up.
Go Easy With New Grass
For newly-seeded grass, pulsating sprinklers may not be the best option. The intense water stream can wash away the seeds and virtually undo the work that is already in place. Oscillating sprinklers, however, offer a gentler option that new grass will thrive on. However, it’s important to consider the growth of your grass throughout the season. Most grass seed will take 30-60 days to establish mature roots. However, the root system won’t full develop and intertwine for up to 2 years! If you have new grass, it’s a good idea to use an oscillating sprinkler for the first two months to be safe.
Water Twice a Week, MAX
In Wisconsin, we mostly deal with soil that is high in clay. However, occasionally we come across a lawn that has a sandier soil. If your lawn has more clay, you may only need to water once a week. However, if you happen to have a sandier soil, plan on watering every 3 days or so. You don’t want to risk over-watering your lawn! Too much watering can lead to fungus growth and possibly developing a shallow root system – not ideal if you’re trying to achieve a healthy lawn. It’s actually better to deprive your lawn of water to an extent! When you stick to a strict watering regiment of 1-2 times per week, you are encouraging your lawn to grow roots deeper into the soil in search of water. Even in the dog days of summer, stick to watering every 3-7 days and water deeply & infrequently.
Get a Timer
If you think remembering to turn off your sprinklers will be a problem, consider purchasing a timer for your hose! Timers can start as low as $10 at the local hardware store or garden center and allow you to set it and forget it! The timer will shut off the water when it reaches the designated time interval and will help you ensure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of water to promote healthy growth. With all of our busy lives, it’s not crazy to think that something may come up in the midst of watering our lawn and we may leave the hose on longer than we meant to. Our suggestion: GET A TIMER!
For Lawns in New Housing Developments
Many times in the past, we’ve been asked by homeowners in new housing developments why their lawn doesn’t seem to grow like it should. The simple answer? HARD SOIL
During the building of your home, there was likely topsoil removed and the ground was compacted from earth movers, trucks, and other heavy equipment. This may leave you with a soil under your lawn that won’t allow water to sink in easily. However, there is an answer to this problem! Water your lawn in stages to allow the water to soak in. (If you can get a shovel in the ground, you can test the soil’s moisture as discussed in the first tip.) Try watering your lawn for 30 minutes, let it soak in for 30 minutes, then do another round of watering for 30 minutes and test the soil. Repeat the process until the moisture reaches 6″ into the soil.
While we won’t water your lawn for you, when it comes to the rest of your lawn maintenance, Thomas Concrete & Landscape can help! Contact us today for all of your lawn maintenance needs and we hope these lawn watering tips will help you to have a healthier, greener lawn this season!