Watering Your Lawn As we get into summer-like conditions, many parts of Canada are beginning to get dry. It’s that time of year when you should start to consider watering your lawn. This is particularly important when you are paying for a lawn care program that delivers weather-dependent services.
To Water or Not to Water?…”That is the question”
Before you start watering your lawn, decide if it really needs it. Here are five things to look at to assess whether you should start watering you lawn:
- Local Watering Restrictions- Many municipalities impose lawn watering restrictions throughout the summer months. Be sure to contact your local Weed Man professional or the municipal government to find out what restrictions are in place so you comply with the regulations.
- Footprint test- Walk across your lawn. Do your footprints bounce back or do they stay visible with the grass not bouncing back up? If your footprints are visible, your lawn may be getting dry.
- Colour Test- Does your lawn look vibrant and green? Or has it taken on a blue-green or even brown tinge? If so it may be time to start a watering regime.
- Growth Rate- If mowing properly (removing only 1/3 of the blade at a time), you may have had to mow your lawn quite often this spring. Are you mowing less often now? If you are able to go more than a week without mowing, your lawn may need water.
- Screwdriver Soil Test- Take a screw driver and insert it into your lawn/soil.
- Is it hard to insert? (If yes, the soil may be dry and compacted and needs water)
- When you pull it out, can you fell any moisture on the screw driver? (If no, the soil may be dry and needs water.
How to Water The two best words to describe proper water are deep and infrequent. Watering an established lawn heavily and infrequently promotes healthy root growth. When watering your lawn, wet the soil to a three- or four-inch depth. Normally, this means about 45 minutes to 1 an hour in each area with your sprinkler. Deep watering should create enough reserve moisture in the soil that you will not need to water again for several days depending on rainfall amounts. Determining soil moisture depth is as easy as taking the screwdriver soil test as described above. If you meet little resistance, then the soil is wet. However, if it doesn’t push easily into the soil, then additional water is needed. Deep, thorough watering is much better than light sprinkling because deep watering takes water far down into the soil which encourages a deep, strong root system. Your lawn needs a minimum of 1 ½ inches (3 to 4 cm) of water weekly depending on soil type, wind and rainfall amounts. Sandy soils need more water than clay soils. However, keep in mind that less water is needed to wet a sandy soil to a four-inch depth. Early morning is the best time to water your lawn. Afternoon watering results in wasted resources, as much of the water evaporates in hot and dry conditions. Alternatively, evening watering can result in too much water standing in the root zone, leading to various forms of turf disease. Don’t water lightly & frequently: The most common mistake with irrigation systems is that they generally apply light water daily, which can lead to shallow rooting and disease problems because roots follow where the water is. If you water lightly, focusing on the grass blades for short periods, the roots can actually come closer to the surface, making your grass plants weaker because shallow roots make them generally more susceptible to drought, disease and insect issues. Weed Man Watering Tips:
- Avoid light, frequent watering. A more thorough watering helps turf roots to grow more deeply.
- Avoid watering too frequently as too much water can lead to disease problems and a lazy root system.
- Check your soil moisture by pushing a screwdriver into the ground. If you meet little resistance, the soil is wet. If it doesn’t push in easily, more water is needed.
- Your lawn needs a minimum of 1 ½ inches (3-4 cm) of water weekly. If rainfall doesn’t supply this naturally then it’s time to water.
- Early morning is the best time to water.
- If your lawn shows symptoms of drought, water it immediately regardless of the time of day.
- If your lawn appears to be stressed or showing signs of summer dormancy, raise your mowing height to 3½ to 4 inches (9 to 10 cm).