Watering your lawn is another very important practice in the care of lawns and landscapes. The goal of any watering program should be to provide a healthy lawn and landscape why conserving as much of the resource as possible. Watering requirements vary from region to region as do the type of soils and the grass varieties. The biggest question one needs to ask themselves is whether to water or not. If you decide not to water your lawn when it is dry your lawn may go dormant. Dormancy is a way of protecting the grass to survive periods of drought. In most cases the grass will green back up when the rains return. In prolonged periods of drought the lawn may have areas that die out and may require seeding. Contrary to what people think weeds do not gain the upper hand when a lawn is in dormancy it is that weeds tend to have a deeper root system and remain green standing out from the rest of the lawn.
If you decide to water your lawn considerations must be taken into to use this resource wisely. How the water will be applied by an in-ground sprinkler system or will the customer move the sprinkler manually around the yard. Type of grass present on site effects the watering requirements as they vary from species to species. Lawns require a large amount of water to maintain there color and since Kentucky bluegrass is the main lawn in my area I will focus on that variety of grass. Kentucky bluegrass in general requires 1” of water per week for healthy turf growth. However new finding suggests that ½” of water is enough to keep the lawn green while 1 1/3” to cause vigorous growth in the lawn.
Several factors can affect the need for water including cutting height, blade sharpness, shade and location of area north side etc. Higher cutting height shades the ground and keeps soil moist longer. Sharp blade makes a clean cut and help prevents water loss from the plant. Shaded areas tend not to need water as often or as much. Once the question to water or not is answered, the next questions becomes for how long and how often?
How long or how often to water is really dependant on the site where the turf is growing. It is accepted practice to water 1” once a week if insufficient rainfall in the area. It is best to water this amount all at once to insure deep penetration of the water into the soil. Deep water penetration forces the grass roots to go deeper into the soil. Determining your individual lawn needs can allow you to decrease your schedule to every 7-10 days which can save water and money. A basic method to determine how long to water is put a can under your sprinkler and see how much water is collected in an hour and use this as you guide. A good rule to follow is to water when the least amount of evaporation will occur usually early morning. Watering early morning gives the grass time to dry before nightfall and helps prevent disease. Avoid light sprinklings as this encourages shallow rooting and make the grass more prone to dry stress. It really is a matter of preference to provide water or not to turf during dry spells and check for local restrictions that your city may have in place.