Watering Your Lawn: How Much & How Long


how much to water your lawnMany people ask how often they should water their lawns, especially during the summer months. Before that question can be answered, other factors must be determined. When watering your lawn, the time of year and grass and soil type must be considered. To be on your way, read the following and gather some information specific to your lawn before beginning:

Determine Soil Type, Grass Type, and Season

There are several different soils types, including sand, loam, silt loam and clay loam. Between sand and clay, water needs and frequency are very different. During the summer, for example, sandy soil with Bermuda grass needs anywhere from 1/5 to 1/6 inch of water, while bluegrass in clay soil generally needs ¼ – 1/3 in of water each day.

How much water does your lawn need? How long should you water?

Before watering, you should also determine how much water your lawn actually needs. An easy test to conduct is to take a screw driver and insert into the ground in several areas. If the screw driver easily penetrates the suggested root depth for your soil (for clay it is 6-8″) then you can be assured your lawn is well watered. If, however, the screwdriver does not easily penetrate the ground nor reaches the correct depth, you will need to water for longer periods of time.

If you prefer to be more scientific, you can purchase an electronic sensor to measure the moisture levels.

A second test you should conduct to determining the length of watering time is necessary to measure the effectiveness of your watering system. To do this, take several cans where your sprinkler is running and after 20 minutes, measure how much water is in each can. This shows you if your sprinkler system is in working order (all cans should be equal in water depth), and secondly, how much water is absorbed in twenty minutes.

After the sprinkler test, insert the probe or screwdriver to see how far the water penetrated the soil. If in 20 minutes the soil has reached the requirement for its type (clay would need at least 6″), then take 120 minutes divided by 6 (the number of inches of water that actually soaked into the soil). Thus 120/6 = 20 minutes. Thus, you can determine how long you should water your lawn.

Now it’s time to water!

After checking the quantity of water your lawn needs and the length of time it requires, you can now begin the watering. Speaking of time, remember to water in the morning! By doing so, you avoid the possibility of evaporation, winds, and high humidity that occur during the daytime. Some people water their lawns in the early evening, but be sure and avoid watering in the late evening as this can lead to disease as the grass generally stays wet all night.

Tips to Remember

1. Do not overwater. Not only is this wasteful, but it can prevent the roots of the grass from receiving enough air for growth.

2. Do not water too little. That’s right – if you water too shallowly, grass will be unable to develop a healthy root system.

3. Make sure that there is not excess thatch in your yard as this can cause water to runoff.

4. You may want to water a day before mowing your lawn to avoid the browning of the grass tips.

5. If you have just planted a brand new lawn, you will need to water daily. Depending upon where you live, grass type, and season determines how many weeks you should do this.


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