Watering your lawn is essential for its healthy growth and survival. It’s very rare that you can leave it up to nature and hope that it rains just that perfect amount to keep your grass happy. Nope – 99 percent of the time being a lawn owner means bringing out the hose or setting up the sprinkler to get that ground moist.
Here are the some handy watering tips that will ensure that you’re hydrating your lawn to perfection. Following these will save you time and money by only giving your lawn what it wants, when it wants it.
Be flexible with your watering. Putting the sprinkler on for half an hour every night sounds like an easy routine, but it won’t do your lawn any favours. Depending on the season, how quickly your soil drains, and whether it’s recently rained or not, your lawn may need more or less water. Judge your watering based on your lawn and the soil. Listen to your lawn and only water when it needs it
Allow the water to partly dry out between watering. This is better for your long term lawn health as it aerates the root system and encourages deeper root growth. This in turn creates a more drought resistant lawn.
Too much and not enough are equally as problematic. Constant over watering, where the soil doesn’t get a chance to dry out at all, can create water log and make the lawn prone to diseases. Frequent, light watering is also not ideal. Watering this way causes the root system to grow shallow, meaning the lawn will be vulnerable to drought and hot summers. The happy middle ground is a deep watering every few days.
Water in the early morning or late evening when less water is lost to evaporation. Never water in direct sunlight. The optimum time is early morning, as the lawn will dry out during the day and won’t be completely soaked at nightfall. Lawns which are frequently wet at night are more susceptible to fungus and disease.
A simple way to check if your lawn needs watering: walk across the lawn and check out your footprints. A sufficiently hydrated lawn should spring back and you will hardly be able to see your footprints. If the lawn is slow to spring back and your footprints are obvious, the lawn needs a drink.
Check local water restrictions before you start watering your lawn – you don’t want to break the law whilst tending to your garden!
In a wet winter your lawn may not need any additional watering, but it’s super important not to let them dry out during the cold months. A stressed and dehydrated lawn is far more susceptible to winter diseases and is less likely to survive the winter intact. Keep an eye on the soil to see if it is drying out and only water if it is. Alternatively or additionally you can check your rain gauge to see how much water your lawn has received. On average you’re looking for about an inch of rain per week for sufficient lawn hydration. If you haven’t got that much rain in a week, top it up with a bit of manual watering.
Use a screwdriver to check soil moisture. Push a six inch screwdriver (or stake, or any other similar implement) into the ground. If it drives through easily and with little effort the soil is moist.
You can also use the screwdriver to check how long you need to water your lawn for. You should be aiming to water your lawn enough for the water to soak as deep as the root system. This will be different for every yard as it depends on the grass variety and soil type. You can work yours out by poking a hole in the lawn whilst watering to see how far the water has reached. If you’re using a sprinkler you can put an ice cream container on the lawn check how long it takes for the water in the container to be 10 – 15mm deep. This is the time that you should be setting your sprinklers for each time you water