Over the next few weeks, the forecast is hot and dry in our area. During this time and through the rest of the summer, it’s important to make sure that your lawn receives the correct amount of water so that it stays green and healthy.
Below are a few tips to insure that your grass is getting what it needs to maintain health during the hot months:
Lawns should receive at least 1” of water per week. This can come in the form of rain or irrigation water. Watering for longer periods of time helps to make sure that the water is going deep into the soil. Short waterings tend to only get the top layer wet. This causes the roots to stay shallow since where the water is after a quick watering. Watering ½” at a time encourages the roots to drive down deep into the soil so that it does not get stressed after a hot and dry period.
This goes back to the water deep idea. If you water every day you will either over water or you will only water long enough to keep the top 1-2” of soil moist. Water 2-3 times a week and for longer periods of time and this will apply the ½’ of water needed to encourage deep root growth.
Water in the Early Morning Hours
There was a saying at the sod company that Matt used to work at, “watering at night is like going to bed with wet socks on; eventually you're going to get a fungus.” It’s a gross statement, but it’s also true. Watering in the morning reduces the amount of time that the grass stays wet. Early morning also means less evaporation compared to watering during the middle of the day meaning more water is going to make its way down deeper into the soil.
Don’t Just Set the Sprinkler and Forget It
Sprinkler systems should be checked regularly. Mowers, edgers, and rodents can all cause issues with sprinkler heads. Make sure to check them at least once a month to ensure they are providing adequate coverage to your lawn.
Test the Soil Moisture
To check the soil moisture level, you can use either a fancy soil moisture meter or a screwdriver from the garage. Either tool is going to help you find out if your soil is properly saturated. Using a 6” screwdriver, stick it in the soil. If you can’t drive the screwdriver all the way down then you need to increase the watering.
So, how long should you water? It depends. Do you have an irrigation system? Does the irrigation system have misters or rotating heads? Do you use an impact, oscillating, or rotary sprinkler? Are you watering in the shade or full sun? What is your soil structure like? Does it have more clay or sand?
There is not really an exact answer to this question. The best advice is to measure it yourself. Place a few tuna cans or small tupperware containers around your lawn and run the sprinklers for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, measure how much water is in the cans. This will show you how close you are to that ½’ amount of water on your lawn.
If you have questions about your lawn and its health in the Athens, Georgia area, we’d be happy to help. Call 706-395-5069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.