3 Lawn Watering Mistakes to Avoid
February 24, 2021
Keeping your lawn green and healthy-looking requires giving it plenty of water. Although some of your lawn's hydration needs are met by rainstorms, most homeowners need to give their grass an extra drink from the hose every now and then.
While watering the lawn seems like a straightforward task, it’s actually easy to make mistakes that can hurt the grass. Improper watering can cause a lot of issues, from stunted growth to fungus and disease. By following the advice of lawn care service providers though, you can be certain that your grass is getting the right amount of water in the right way.
Incorrect Amount of Water
Over or underwatering the grass is probably the most common mistake that homeowners can make. As a general rule, your lawn needs about an inch of water per week, from both rain and the hose. This means that you don’t need to thoroughly drench the grass every time you turn on the sprinkler, but the overnight rain showers might not be enough.
It’s easy to see when grass is under watered, since it usually turns brown and looks dry and dead. Even if it still looks healthy, grass that doesn’t get enough water isn’t going to develop a strong and healthy root system, leaving it susceptible to problems in the future. Overwatering also creates a shallow root system by causing erosion. Giving the grass too much water can also wash away fertilizer and nutrients, eventually killing the grass. Too much moisture also supports fungal growth, which will damage or kill your lawn.
The best way to ensure your lawn is getting the right amount of moisture is by using a soil moisture meter. Found at any home and garden retailer, these inexpensive meters will tell you exactly how much moisture is present in the soil, and how much you need to water. Keep in mind that it’s better to spread the watering out over the course of the week to maintain a consistent level of soil moisture, not letting it become too dry or too saturated.
Watering at the Wrong Time
When you water the grass is just as important as how much water you give it. Although many homeowners set their sprinkler systems to run overnight, or go out with the hose themselves after work, watering late in the day can be detrimental to grass health. Watering at night usually means that the grass stays wet longer, which can increase the risk of fungus problems. Even watering earlier in the evening while the sun is still up isn’t ideal as there is still enough heat in the air and ground to cause excess evaporation.
The ideal time to water your lawn is around dawn, or between 4 am and 8 am. At this time, water will not evaporate as quickly, and there is usually less wind to blow the water around. Giving your grass a good drink early in the day can also keep it hydrated, and less susceptible to the ravages of the sun.
Even if you have a sprinkler system, staying on top of timing is important. Don’t just “set it and forget it.” Adjust the timing of the sprinkler sessions, and turn it off if you have a steady, heavy rainstorm. In fact, after a storm, give the grass a chance to dry out, check your soil meter, and turn the sprinklers on after the top inch or two of soil has dried out.
Using the Wrong Watering Equipment
Speaking of sprinkler or irrigation systems, having one installed is the best way to keep your lawn watered. However, if that’s not possible or in the budget, a pulsating sprinkler is the next best thing. Pulsating sprinklers spray the water horizontally over a wide area. This prevents water from evaporating and ensures even watering.
That said, if you have a new lawn, an oscillating sprinkler that sprays the water vertically is a better option. It has less pressure than a pulsating sprinkler and is less likely to wash away seeds or crush new sprout lings. In either case, you will need to move the sprinklers around the yard to evenly water every section.
If you have questions about how to best water your lawn, turn to a professional lawn service for advice. They can help you determine how much water your lawn needs and how to deliver it, keeping the grass lush, green, and healthy all summer.
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