How Much Do I Need to Water My Lawn: A Guide
A lawn is an ecosystem. Like any ecosystem, your lawn requires a delicate balance of sunlight, nutrients and, of course, water. Water is the giver and taker of life. Did you know that the roots of grass plants require oxygen to live? Too much water and your lawn will drown, killing the grass. Not enough water and your grass and other plants will dry up and die. How do you strike a balance? How much water is too much? How much is too little? When is the best time to water a lawn? Here are some answers:
- Water early. The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. When you water your lawn, especially if you use a sprinkler system, a certain percentage of the water will evaporate. By watering in the morning before the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, you limit the amount of water lost to evaporation.
- Water deep. When you water your lawn, you want to leave the water running for a good, long period of time. This ensures that the water will go deep into your soil and will encourage your grass to grow deep roots. A deep root network will give you a greener lawn, and also make it harder for weeds to grow. Generally, you lawn will need between 1 and 2 inches of water (rain or irrigation) each week, depending on soil type. How long will that take? That will vary with your watering system. To find out, place a tuna or pet food can out in the lawn and turn on your sprinkler. After half an hour, measure the water that has accumulated. Repeat as necessary to determine how long to run your sprinkler. If you get heavy rain during the week, refrain from watering your lawn.
- Check your lawn. While watering early in the morning once a week is a good rule of thumb, you may notice slight variances in your own lawn, depending on the climate in your area and the type of grass you plant. To check if your lawn needs more water, you can do the step test. Simply walk across your lawn, and see if the grass bounces back. If it does, your lawn is sufficiently watered. If it not, then you might need to increase the amount of watering you do.
- Hand-water problem spots. Sprinklers are great and are a real time saver. However, no sprinkler system is perfect and you will probably notice spots that your sprinkler misses. It’s important that you hand-water these spots to ensure that your entire lawn maintains a uniform level of moisture.
- Waste not, want not. Make sure your sprinklers are aimed at your lawn and only your lawn. Sprinkling the sidewalk or the road wastes water and money. It’s also annoying to passing motorists and pedestrians.
Now that you know the best time and the best ways to water, you can look forward to a green, vibrant lawn all summer long.