One of the most common questions we get asked at GuanoBoost is, “what is the ideal way to water my lawn” It goes without saying that knowing the correct lawn watering protocol is critical to having a great looking lawn. This is because there are a number of factors to consider; like:
How much should I water?
What time of the day
What type of sprinkler should I use
Can I water in the evening….WANT GUANOBOOST?
Watering is more an art than a science, but I’ve set out to put together the key points to follow if you want to have a manageable, ideal lawn watering protocol, that will guarantee you have a lush, green lawn all year round that you can be proud of.
- Water as early in the morning as you can, when possible.
- Aim to apply at least 1”-1 ½” of water per week, year-round, during the winter, too.
- Water twice a week max, but water deeply, rather than daily.
- If you cannot push a 6” screwdriver into the lawn you are not watering enough. Soak at least 6” into the soil
- Do not water after 6 pm, as this can lead to fungus growing on your lawn
- You will need to water more in the heat, especially if you have a fescue lawn.
- Use the correct sprinkler strategy for your lawn
- If you have automatic sprinklers, check them regularly to be sure you’re hitting the areas you want to water
Let’s go over these points one by one
1 – Water as early in the morning as you can, when possible.
Watering early in the morning will ensure that your lawn dries completely before nightfall. The absolute best time to water your lawn is the early morning; the earlier the better, but ideally before 10AM. Cooler temperatures and calm breezes help keep evaporation to a minimum, which will save you money and ensure the water is helping your grass and not being lost to evaporation. And watering in the morning keeps the turf cooler during the hot parts of the day, which means less stress on the grass.
2 – Your lawn needs at least 1″-1 ½ ” of water per week, year-round, during the winter, too.
How much water and how often is one of the most misunderstood aspects of lawn care. Many people think that just running their sprinklers every day for a few minutes is giving the lawn the water it needs, but this is not the correct way to water your lawn because this is simply not giving your lawn the levels of water that it needs to thrive.
“Your lawn needs at least 1”-1 ½” of water per week, year-round, during the winter, too”.
How long should you water to get one inch? This will vary depending on your water pressure and type of sprinklers but with automatic sprinklers, usually 20 minutes, 3 times per week will get an inch of water on your lawn, and 30 minutes 3 times per week will get 1 ½” down. Bear in mind that during extreme heat, you will need to water more, due to evaporation and heat stress on the grass.
There are two important factors to consider:
- How much water is my lawn getting from rain fall and;
- How do I know I’m goving my lawn the 1”to 1 ½” of water it needs from my sprinklers or hose
To know how much water your lawn is getting from rain fall I recommend that you buy a rain gauge. If you get 1”to 1 ½” of water in it per week, you’re good to go because adding more water can lead to overwatering. If your not getting 1”to 1 ½” a week, you need to water. To use the rain gauge to measure the output of your sprinkler system, be sure it is in the path of the area being watered. Here is a detailed guide on How To Use A Rain Guage In Your Garden. You can but them in most gardening stores but here is a link to Garden Rain Guages That You Can purchase online.
How do you know if you’re watering your grass with 1” to 1 ½ inch of water? You can use this simple test. Place a series of shallow containers throughout your lawn and turn your sprinklers on. Keep watering until you measure 1” to 1 ½ inch of water in the majority of the containers.
This simple test will also help you determine if your sprinklers are watering your grass evenly. If the depth of the water in the containers varies widely, this may explain patches of dried grass in your yard. In this case, you’ll need to adjust your sprinkler heads. It’s also important that you don’t over-water your grass.
3 – Water deeply 2-3 times per week, rather than daily.
Water long enough to moisten the soil about 6 inches down, which is the depth of a healthy grass root system. It takes about one inch of water to wet normal lawns to that depth. Watering daily will give your grass a shallow root system. Shallow root systems dry out fast and weaken your turf.
Watering deeply 3 times per week for 20 minutes generally up until you have hit the target of 1” to 1 ½ inch of water will give your grass a deep root system, making it stronger and more drought-resistant. Click on this link to learn how to develop deep roots in grass.
4. If you can’t push a 6” screwdriver into your lawn, you’re not watering enough.
Watering 1″-1 ½ ” per week is a guideline. Different soil types need different amounts, see the guide below. Soil is often a combination of different materials such as a combination of clay and sand, which is known as loam. A sandy loam won’t hold moisture as well as a clayish-loam. Clay holds moisture better (think mud,) but the water is slow to penetrate it. You can tell what your dominant type of soil is by getting a moist handful and squeezing it. Clay will smush into a ball that doesn’t fall apart. Sand will stick together when squeezed, but not for very long.
Guide on water infiltration for soil types Source
5. Do not water after 6 pm, as this can lead to fungus growing on your lawn
If you can’t water in the morning, late afternoon is the next best time. It might seem smart to wait for evening’s cooler temperatures, but watering late in the evening keeps lawns wet overnight, which can make your lawn susceptible to disease. I often see people watering their lawns after 6pm in the evening, but this is a critical mistake, because a wet lawn at night is providing the perfect condition for fungus to grow.
“Watering your lawn after 6pm in the evening is one of the worst things you can do”.
6 – You will need to water more in the heat and particularly if you have a fescue lawn.
Naturally, the summer months are when you really want to show off your lawn, especially for that family BBQ, but it is also a time when you need to be extra attentive and water more in the summer heat to keep your lawn from becoming drought-stressed, and this is more important if you have high winds AND high temperatures.
When you have very nigh temperatures – high 90’s and over 100º – for a prolonged time period, you might want to 1) raise your mowing height a little 2) water lightly daily to cool off the grass (this is especially true for fescue.) Grass needs more water during the heat because it also uses water as an internal coolant. Daily waterings in the heat should be in addition to your regular deep waterings. For a guide on different fescue lawns click here.
7 – Use the correct sprinkler strategy for your lawn
The most effective and easiest way to water your lawn if to have a built in sprinkler system installed. If you are buying a house or are planning to stay in your house for a long time, it is a great investment over the long run, saving you time and money.
However, if this is not possible, you can still use a pulsating, revolving sprinkler hooked up to a garden hose is the next best choice for an established lawn. The sprinkler shoots out the water horizontally at a high velocity so it’s not as vulnerable to wind and evaporation as oscillating types, which spray the water straight up.
When watering new grass, it is important not to damage the grass with excessive water pressure. Pulsating sprinklers work great for lawns with mature grass, but for new lawns, the intense water stream can wash away the seeds. Oscillating sprinklers are a better choice for new lawns until the grass takes root because the water lands softer on the lawn.
For newly planted grass seed, keep the top inch of the soil most, but not soggy. Monitor and water regularly until it reaches a three-inch height, then water on your regular cycle.
If you’ve planted sod, water it 15 minutes a day (twice a day in very hot weather) for the first two weeks. You can walk the seams to gently press the sod into the soil and help the roots to knit.
8. If you have automatic sprinklers, check them regularly to be sure you’re getting complete coverage.
How often have you checked your sprinkler settings to see if they are still orientated towards the area you want watered. It is a commion sight, to drive past someones lawn only to see the sprinkler spraying precious water onto the curb. It is so easy for this to happen, all it takes is a knock with your lawnmower or for a kid to hit it with a ball and its alignment can get out of shape.
“It sounds obvous, but regularly checking your sprinkler alignment is an impoirtant part of your lawn watering protocol”.
If a brown area doesn’t respond to watering, look for another problem. Assuming your sprinkler coverage is adequate, you might have a fungus, Spring Dead Spot, chinch bugs, construction debris buried a foot under the soil, or you may need to add some natural fertilizer.
Why use natural fertilizers instead of synthetic lawn fertilizers? Because they are better for your grass, the environment, and they are proven to work better than synthetics and in the case of Grow Bang, the all-important nitrogen Levels are FAR HIGHER at 16.5%. This is because it is made from 100% Organic GuanoBoost Fertilizer. Seabird Guano is one of the best organic fertilizers in the world today.
The seabird guano used in Grow Bang Lawn Fuel is sourced sustainably using environmentally friendly methods from Namibian Islands. Grow Bang Lawn Fuel is produced locally in South Africa and contains 100 % natural ingredients.
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