Lawn & Yard Care
By Emily Murphy
Lawns provide quality outdoor space to play and relax, while also helping to reduce soil erosion. Routine maintenance for any lawn includes mowing, feeding and watering. Knowing when and how to water properly will help keep your lawn healthy and resilient.
The best time to water grass is early in the morning between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Watering in the morning allows the water to soak in over the course of the day, reducing fungal problems. Morning is also the coolest part of the day and the least windy, which means the water is less likely to evaporate.
If you water mid-day when the sun and temperatures are highest, water will evaporate quickly causing less water to get to your lawn. Watering in the evening leaves the lawn wet throughout the night, increasing the chance for diseases.
It is ideal to water your lawn 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 get an inch of water on your lawn.
This formula works best with healthy, well-cultivated soil. Healthy soil provides excellent drainage while also providing just the right amount 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 and leave soil unnecessarily dry.
Watering daily will give your grass a shallow root system. Shallow root systems dry out fast and weaken your yard. Infrequent, deep watering encourages grass roots to run deep, developing strong systems below ground. This allows your lawn to be more resilient to changing weather and more hardy 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’s naturally less evaporation and a higher chance of rainfall.
There are some simple tricks to determine if your lawn is receiving enough water.
First, does it look healthy? If it looks healthy, then it probably is — which means stick to what you’re 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’s time to increase your watering routine.
Be ready for changing weather and be aware of when your lawn needs more feeding and fertilizing. Give your lawn 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, the lawn is most likely overwatered. The best next step is to decrease the amount of watering until they are gone.
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