What to know about watering your lawn
Looking for a guide that tells you exactly how to water your lawn to get the greenest, lushest lawn on the block? You are in the right place! Rooted In Nature has many years of professional landscaping experience, and we consider ourselves caregivers to your lawn. We want it cared for like a living, breathing thing! So without further ado, let's talk thirsty lawns!
How long to water your lawn
It is ideal to water lawns about one inch of water per week. To determine how long you need to water to get one inch, place a plastic container in your yard and set a timer. On average, it will take 30 minutes to get a half inch of water. So, 20 minutes, three times per week will give a lawn about an inch of water.
This formula works best with healthy, well-cultivated soil. Healthy soil provides excellent drainage, while also providing just the right amount of water retention at the root zone - where grass needs it most. Poor soil with inadequate drainage will cause soil to become waterlogged, while soil devoid of organic matter will cause water to drain, leaving soil unnecessarily dry.
How often to water your lawn
Watering grass daily will result in a shallow root system. And shallow root systems dry out fast, weakening lawns. Infrequent, deep watering encourages grass roots to run deep, developing strong systems below-ground. This allows lawns to be more resilient to changing weather, while becoming hardier and disease resistant.
The average lawn needs to be watered three times per week during warm months, providing a total of about one inch of water over the course of the week. Lawns can be watered as little as one to two times per week to achieve the same goal in cooler seasons, when there is naturally less evaporation and a higher chance of rainfall.
How to tell if your lawn has been watered enough
There are some simple tricks that will determine if a lawn is receiving enough water. First, does it look healthy? If it looks healthy, then it probably is – which means stick to what you are doing. Another way to determine if your lawn needs to be watered is to submerge a screwdriver into the grass. If it easily sinks 6 to 7 inches, then your lawn is receiving an adequate amount of water each week. If not, it is probably time to make a change to your watering routine.
Be ready for changing weather and be aware of when a lawn needs more feeding and fertilizing. Give lawns an organic fertilizer and compost in fall and spring, and cut back on watering when dry days turn to rainy ones.
If you see mushrooms growing in your grass, it is most likely due to overwatering. The best next step is to decrease the amount of watering until the mushrooms are gone.
Watering different lawn types
Maryland has crazy weather patterns, and because we have a variety of weather year-round we have a variety of grasses that grow here! How long to water lawn varieties and how to care for the different types will depend on several factors, including the season, the zone you are in and most importantly the type of grass you are growing. Different lawn types will have different watering and overall care needs, so it is important to pay attention to the type of lawn that is growing. Once you know how much to water a specific lawn type, it is easy to set a schedule that will give thirsty lawns the perfect amount of water all season long.
Warmseason grasses – Warm-season grasses such as zoysia and bermuda grass grow best when the air temperature is above 80 degrees. They slow down when daytime temperatures start to drop, but they still need moisture to remain healthy. Continue to water them as long as the grass is growing and needs regular mowing. Fall is not the time to fertilize warm-season lawns. Wait until spring, when the active growing season begins.
Cool season grasses – Cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, fescue and rye, are actively growing in the fall, recovering from summer dormancy. Cool fall temperatures keep evaporation rates low, but these grasses still need an inch to an inch and a half of water every week until frost ends the growing season. Cool-season grasses are also typically fertilized in the fall, and watering after fertilizing is important to wash the fertilizer off the blades of grass and down into the soil.
Watering at the wrong time
To water well, timing is everything. Water in the early morning – between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Midday watering leads to wasteful evaporation, while nighttime watering causes droplets to cling to grass overnight, increasing the chance of lawn diseases.
A dual-outlet electronic water timer will prove handy for those mornings you are away or just want to sleep in. Just program the start time, frequency and duration of watering, and let the timer take care of the rest. The dual outlets make it easy to hook up two hoses at once and program separate schedules for different parts of the yard.
Watering the wrong amount
While overwatering is a common mistake, it happens to be one of the most detrimental. Unless watering newly planted grass seed, don’t water every day.
Frequent, shallow watering wastes water and money. It also leads to a number of lawn problems, including diseases, insect infestations and damage from heat and cold. On the other hand, watering longer but less frequently - known as “deep watering” - produces deep roots that mean lawns can better survive periods of drought. The ideal watering schedule is once or twice per week, for about 25-30 minutes each time.
Taking care of a lawn doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, all-consuming task. Once all the tips and tricks are in your back pocket, it will be easy to come up with a routine that results in a gorgeous green lawn. And if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always count on Rooted in Nature to help! Just contact us for more help at 443-846-0199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.