There is always a house or two in the neighborhood with impeccable lawns everybody envies. A healthy, beautiful green lawn is a statement piece of a house and creates a welcoming atmosphere, but the work and knowledge it takes to cultivate that sea of green is more challenging than it appears. Lawn watering is crucial to achieving that look, and it requires a lot of precision.
Our experts at Yard Smart have put together a short guide on how to water your lawn correctly along with some other lawn watering tips. If you feel your lawn could use some extra care, continue reading to help you determine what steps you need to take to get that luscious, green yard everyone compliments.
What Time of the Day Is Best for Watering?
Believe it or not, watering your lawn first thing in the morning or just before dinner can affect the health of your lawn, development of the root system, and overall aesthetics. Here are some general tips you should follow regarding what time of day is best for watering.
Ideally, it would be best if you watered the lawn early in the morning before 10 AM. Watering the lawn in the morning helps decrease evaporation. It gets hotter later in the day, so more water will evaporate, leaving the soil dry. Late afternoon can be an option, too, but avoid watering around sunset.
It seems that evening time would be ideal for watering due to lower temperatures, but night brings additional challenges, such as long drying time and slower absorption. If the lawn stays wet for hours during the night, the higher the probability that the lawn might develop harmful fungi.
How Long Should I Water My Lawn?
How long you water and the amount of water you use are vital for stimulating a healthy grass root system, but grass can be sensitive to watering. If you do not water it often enough, it will start to dry out and brown; however, too much watering could lead to an underdeveloped root system and the growth of fungi and other diseases that could harm it.
The soil of the lawn plays an important role in determining how long you should water and how much water is necessary. On average, as long as the water penetrates the soil 6-inches deep, the lawn should be fine.
It takes about 1 inch of water to penetrate 6 inches into the ground as long as the soil is not exotic. You can check the quality of your soil with a quick composition test. Stick a screwdriver or a shovel 6 inches deep into the ground and check if the soil is moist. If it is, leave it alone; otherwise, your lawn might need more water.
To determine how long to water, you can use a simple formula. Multiply the area of your lawn (in square feet) by 0.62 gallons, the amount you need to water 1 inch of water per square foot of your lawn. Divide this number by the flow rate of your sprinkler (usually specified on the package), and you will get the time you need for the sprinkler to produce that much water.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn?
Another common mistake is the frequency of watering. Several factors influence how often you should water your lawn, with the climate being the most important one. If your lawn is getting enough moisture when watered, it should be able to go for a week during the colder months of the year. As the summer rolls around, you should step up the watering frequency to twice a week.
For a healthy root system, the grass needs to reach deep and extract the water below the surface. As the surface dries out, the grass will have to reach deeper to get adequate water. This helps stimulate root growth and strengthens the grass, making it less susceptible to droughts and high heat.
Which Sprinkler System Should I Use?
When it comes to sprinkler systems for lawns, an in-ground irrigation system with pop-up sprinklers is highly recommended. It waters the lawn on time and delivers the exact amount of water needed for the lawn to flourish. Unfortunately, these systems are costly and difficult to install, and most homeowners find it difficult to justify installing one.
What are the alternatives? There are two systems with distinct advantages and disadvantages: pulsating and oscillating sprinklers. Pulsating sprinklers are the second-choice of most landscaping enthusiasts. They easily hook up to a garden hose and shoot water horizontally across the lawn in a revolving fashion. They come either with a stand or a spike to fixate them in one spot on the lawn.
Although pulsating sprinklers excel at preventing evaporation, they do come with one significant flaw. They can be harmful to new, young grass with an undeveloped root system. In those cases, oscillating sprinklers are the right tool for the job. They water the lawn more gently and will not wash away the seeds and erode young grass.
You should own both sprinkler systems, although the pulsating revolving sprinklers is the more desired of the two. If you need to reseed the lawn, you can borrow or rent the oscillating sprinklers for a short time while the grass is still new.
In-ground irrigation systems allow homeowners to automate the process, removing human error from the equation when watering the lawn. How many times has the sprinkler been running too long because something came up that you needed to take care of? Nowadays, there are several lawn care gadgets available, and most of them are quite affordable.
Placing a simple timer on your garden hose before attaching the sprinkler and setting the watering time will prevent the overwatering and give you peace of mind. Placing sensors in your lawn can give you real-time feedback on how your lawn is doing, provide you with the moisture levels, and help you identify any issues that might arise.
Dealing with Hard Soil
One significant issue most people run into when trying to start a lawn at a new house is the hardness of the soil. The construction crew and machines building the house remove the top level of soil during the process and leave the hard, compacted soil behind, absorbing water much slower and needs special care when watering.
If you do the watering all in one go, the water will pool on the top, drowning the seeds and new grass. Split the watering into two intervals (or more if necessary). If your lawn needs 30 minutes of watering, split it into two 15-minute sessions, and let the soil absorb all the water between the sessions.
Over time, the soil will soften, and a new top layer will form beneath the grass.
We hope that our tips will help you cultivate a beautiful lawn that will increase your home’s curb appeal. If you feel that the whole process might be a bit overwhelming for you or would like the experts to take your lawn to another level, give us a call at Yard Smart.
Yard Smart is a premium lawn care company that has serviced the Greater Toronto Area for more than 40 years.