The Correct Way to Water Your Lawn

Many people are not sure when to water or how long to water their lawn. Watering your lawn at the correct time and at the correct frequency is very important to maintaining a healthy lawn. Improper watering can increase stress on the turf and increase the chances of disease and insect infestation.

The best time to water your lawn is before the heat of the day which is usually in the morning before the sun rises. Watering early allows the water time to soak in rather than evaporating off the grass leaves. If there is excess water that cannot be absorbed, it will have a chance to evaporate once the sun rises and air temperatures increase. Watering in the evening also allows the water to soak into the soil, but excess water will not evaporate at night and the moisture left on the lawn can be a breeding ground for fungal diseases.

Watering deeply is very important in encouraging deep root growth. By watering lightly and often, the roots remain near the surface of the soil where the water is located. Once this shallow soil dries out the lawn will dry out quickly and in turn is susceptible to insects and disease. By watering less often and for a longer time, the deeper soil remains moist and the lawn is less likely to suffer during a period of drought.

Even though longer watering is beneficial, over-watering can also be a problem. Too much water can carry away nutrients, foster fungal spores and stress the lawn so it is susceptible to disease. Most lawns require one to two inches of water per week. To determine if you are providing the proper amount of water, place a few pans or cans around your lawn to catch water. Aluminum baking pans are ideal for this project and once you are finished you can always wash them out and use them to make a nice tray of lasagna. Turn on your sprinklers for 30 minutes and than measure how much water has been “caught” in each pan. Each pan should yield between ? and ? inch of water. If you have ? inch of water in each pan than you know that if you water your lawn three times per week at that rate you will provide your lawn with approximately 1 ? inches of water. One thing to remember is that if there is rain during the week than you need to adjust your watering to account for the additional water provided by the rain.