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Best Time to Water Your Lawn

Lawn & Yard Care

By Emily Murphy

Best Time to Water 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! Read on for everything there is to know about lawn care, from when is the best time to water lawn tips to watering different lawn types, Gilmour’s lawn watering guide has got you covered. We will explore:

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.

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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

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.

Warm-Season 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.

Typical Mistakes When Watering Your Lawn

The idea of watering a lawn may sound like a no-brainer, but in reality, there are multiple mistakes you can make along the way that can prevent lawns from looking their best. Luckily, there are effective watering lawn tips that can help you become a watering pro.

An “Any-Sprinkler-Will-Do” Attitude

No lawn is created equal, which is why Gilmour’s sprinklers aren’t either. Conserve water by spraying only where it is needed. It’s important to consider a lawn’s size and shape. Then select the best sprinkler for the space.

First, determine the lawn’s square footage with the Gilmour Lawn Size Calculator. Just plug in your address, use the tool to measure the area that will be watered and decide from there whether a sprinkler for a small, medium or large space is necessary. Next, think about the lawn’s shape. A sprinkler should cover a yard’s specific shape and size.

The Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler, for example, is ideal for circular- or irregular-shaped spaces with a customized spray pattern. Be the water-spray designer – just pull the pegs up to shorten the spray reach or push down to lengthen the distance. Wave goodbye to water wasted on sidewalks, siding and your neighbor’s lawn.

Ignoring Your Grass’ Needs

Taking a lawn’s age into consideration is important. A fully-grown lawn can handle a more powerful spray, whereas newly seeded lawns need a gentler touch. If you only have a small area of newly planted seeds, a Stationary Square Sprinkler works well for gentle spot-watering, while an Adjustable Length Wind-Resistant Rectangular Sprinkler can cover a bigger area.

For a sprinkler that will grow along with the grass, try the Circular Sprinkler Spike with on/off switch. The diffuser pin allows for a customized force of spray, from a steady shower for new grass to a more powerful stream for mature lawns.

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 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. We suggest attaching a Flexogen Super Duty Hose, as it easily curves around the yard without kinking and connects to a spigot without leaking – saving water and money.

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, “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 to 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.

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