Watering your Lawn
During the summer months there is often less natural rainfall than your lawn needs to be healthy and to look its best. Irrigation is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a healthy and green lawn.
The average lawn consumes about 1" (25mm) of water per week. When there is not enough rain to meet this need, watering is the answer to keep the plant green and healthy and to encourage deep root growth.
Soil type and the landscape can dictate how often and how long you need to water, i.e. sandy soils absorb water fast but lose it just as quickly and may need more than 1” per week. Clay soil holds water and dries out slower and is difficult to irrigate because it absorbs water slowly and runoff is a real concern. Loamy soil is ideal for grass. It has the necessary organic materials and nutrients and can absorb water well and release it to the roots extremely well.
The landscape can affect irrigation practices. If the lawn undulates or slopes water may tend to runoff, or to pool in low areas. When watering, you need take into consideration these factors and compensate accordingly. Dry or brown patches of grass indicate that water is not penetrating to the root zone and steps should be taken to improve that penetration.
How much to water:
It is recommended that you water your lawn twice a week and that you apply at least ½” at a time. Place some plastic containers on the lawn and measure the amount of water you are applying to see how long it takes for your system to apply ½”. With this plan you would water twice during a week to achieve the 1” goal. A ½” of water will penetrate into the soil and will encourage roots to grow down – more than ½” is even better. Less than ½” of water will stay at the top of the soil and will actually encourage roots to stay very shallow or even grow up to get to the water. This will result in weak grass plants with very little resilience. Frequent, light watering can result in the formation of an undesirable thatch layer on top of the soil.
When to water:
The best time of the day to water your lawn is early in the morning and next best is during the day. The goal is to have the grass dry before nightfall. Lawn diseases, fungus, mould and mildew all like moist, cool and dark conditions. Watering the grass at night or leaving it wet as night falls helps to create these exact conditions – and is to be avoided if possible.
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Drought Stressed Lawns
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