Here they come – the long, hot days of summer are upon us! And that means that watering your lawn and landscape will become a regular chore for the next few months.
If you’ve had an automatic sprinkler system installed, then watering your lawn isn’t really all that much of a chore.
But whether you’re enjoying the ease of using an automated system, or you’re still dragging hoses and sprinklers all over the place, it’s crucial that you know when to water and how much to water. Too little water, and you’ll damage your lawn. Too much water, and you’ll damage your lawn and waste money.
The good news is that what’s best for your lawn is also more convenient for you. That’s because infrequent, deep waterings are better for your lawn than frequent waterings.
Water Long, Water Deep
Infrequent waterings that soak a good 6 inches into the soil will help your lawn grass to be healthier. That’s because deep but infrequent soakings encourage the roots of your turf to grow deeper and stronger. And a healthy, more vigorous root system leads to healthier, hardier plants.
The denser root system will make your grass less susceptible to periods of drought. A more dynamic root system will also offer the fringe benefit of discouraging competition from weeds.
How Much Water Does Your Grass Need?
The amount of water your turf needs for optimum health can differ considerably from locale to locale, and even from yard to yard. Variables such as climate and the variety of grass you’re growing means that you’ll need to fine-tune irrigation amounts to your specific circumstances.
On average, though, somewhere from one to two inches of water per week should be the target quantity for most lawns. You’ll know you’re watering enough if each watering soaks about 6 inches into the soil.
To check the depth of a watering, simply poke a long screwdriver into the soil after watering. The depth to which the screwdriver slides into the soil with relative ease indicates the depth of the watering. So if you’re able to slide the screwdriver six inches deep before it seems to hit a barrier, you’re good. Shallower or deeper, and you’ll know that you need to moderate the length of time that you’re running your sprinklers.
It Can Be Easy, Or It Can Be Hard…
If you’re fortunate enough to have a well-designed, well-maintained automatic sprinkler system, giving your lawn the right amount of water will be a snap. Just experiment a bit to find the right runtime for a six-inch soaking, and then program your system accordingly.
If you’re watering manually, the process will be more complicated. Manually positioning and repositioning sprinklers typically results in lots of variability in watering rates. And that means that you’ll need to constantly monitor to assure that you’re watering to the proper depth throughout your lawn and landscape.
But if you want a healthy, lush-looking lawn, it’s worth spending the time to assure that your turf is getting its required six-inch-deep soaking every week – no more, and no less.