As we move into spring, and as spring heats up into summer, you’ll be watering your lawn more and more frequently. After all, the math is pretty simple: hotter weather + less frequent rain = more watering.
But more isn’t always better. As is true with many of life’s good things, too much water can be very damaging. In fact, too much water can be more damaging to your lawn than too little water.
So how do you know if you’re overwatering your lawn? It’s not necessarily an easy thing to know – your lawn certainly can’t tell you “enough already!”
But there are some common clues that can key you in on an overwatering problem. These are the most apparent:
#1: Weed Speed
Are weeds proliferating in your lawn with amazing speed? That could be a sure sign of overwatering. Certain weeds will absolutely thrive in a too-wet environment – nutsedge and crabgrass, for example.
#2: Thatch Patch
Thatch is a common and quite unsightly lawn problem. Thatch occurs when a layer of partially decomposed grass parts (roots and stems) build up into sort of a thick mat on the surface of the ground.
Frequent overwatering can discourage grass roots from growing deep into the soil; there’s no need for roots to grow deep, because they can find all the water they need near the surface. All of those roots growing near the surface eventually form a hardscrabble mat that turns into thatch.
#3: Bug Boom
As with many problems, overwatering can create a domino effect of cascading problems. A boom in the population of harmful insects in your lawn is an example. It’s a problem that can result from the previous ‘domino,’ thatch.
Thatch can provide a wonderfully sheltering habitat for insects. And many of those insects can wreak havoc upon your lawn and landscape.
#4: Fungus Among Us
Most types of fungi love a moist environment. So if you’ve got mushrooms popping up in spots, that’s a solid indication that you’re overwatering your lawn – at least in those areas.
In fact, there are many different types of fungus that will eagerly parasitise an overwatered lawn. Rust and anthracnose are prime examples.
#5: Assorted Cue Clues
Other common-sense clues can cue you in to the fact that your lawn is overwatered:
- A particularly spongy feel to the surface as you walk your lawn
- Runoff from your lawn during watering
- Yellowish or light-green coloring (may indicate that excessive watering is leaching nutrients out of your soil)
Fix the Flooding
Any or all of the telltale signs above will signify that you’re overwatering your lawn. The solution to the problem is obvious enough: reduce the amount of water you’re applying.
But how much? That’s not so obvious. Striking the just-right balance of water for your lawn can be rather difficult. You have to juggle a number of variables, including the unknown of how much rainfall Mother Nature will be delivering.
Overall, though, try to water deeply (1/2 to 1 inch), but less frequently (every one to three weeks). The exact frequency and quantity of watering, of course, will be determined by conditions.
And don’t overlook the advantages that modern technology offers. Smart sprinkler controllers can take the burden off your shoulders – and probably do a better job – of determining when and how much to water.
Because going overboard with watering is a great way to turn a very good thing into a very bad thing.