You’re probably thinking, “Who needs tips on how to water their lawn? It’s watering your lawn.” Well, if you want a healthy, lush lawn, there is a best way do it and just tossing a sprinkler in your yard for half an hour every few days is a good way to create more work for yourself in the long run. There is a balance to watering your lawn; too little and your root system will be shallow and weak, too much and your lawn can become diseased. Follow these lawn watering tips for a full, lush lawn.
BEST WAY TO WATER YOUR LAWN
WATER IN THE MORNING
The best time to water your lawn is in the morning. Some people swear by doing it at night so the water can be fully absorbed by your soil, but this also puts your landscaping at risk of disease. Letting the water sit overnight, in the dark and in cooler temperatures gives fungus all the right motivators to grow. Watering at night is, quite simply, one of the worst things you can do.
While it’s not the most convenient time to do it, it is best to water your lawn first thing in the morning. The water is able to be absorbed by your soil and there’s minimal loss to evaporation or being carried away by a breeze or wind. Additionally, the chances of fostering fungus or disease growth is minimal. If you can’t do it before work during the week, water on the weekend, but make sure it’s in the morning.
SOAK 6 INCHES INTO THE SOIL
Grass only needs about 1” of water per week (from rainfall or a hose) to help grow its root system. Keep in mind, this isn’t 1” deep. If you only water an inch deep at a time, your lawn’s root system won’t go much further than that. When a lawn is fairly new or you just spread seed, you’ll want to keep the top 2 – 3 inches of your soil moist so it can set roots. When it’s able to maintain a mowing height of about 3 – 4 inches, that’s when we know it has a deep, healthy root system and we can start watering more deeply.
The goal with soaking your lawn this deep is to hit the entirety of the grass’s root system. Healthy lawns have root systems in the 4 – 6 inch range and regular watering helps it thrive. As we’ve said in other articles, watering deeply (instead of shallow watering) helps prevent crabgrass and other weeds from taking root. On top of that, having a full lawn doesn’t give weeds or other invasive plants room to grow.
USE IN GROUND SPRINKLERS
While a pulsating sprinkler is good for mature lawns and an oscillating sprinkler is good for new ones, an in-ground sprinkler system is the best way to water your lawn. Don’t get us wrong, they’ll get the job done, but it won’t be as good or as easy as a sprinkler system.
A properly installed sprinkler system will evenly water your lawn and have different zones with their own schedules. That means you can have a soaker hose for your flower bed that waters once a week, your front lawn on another that waters twice a week, your backyard on its schedule, and another zone for a garden or any other landscaping you have with specific watering requirements. All of these zones can run off of their schedule so you don’t have to lift a finger.
Most newer homes already have a sprinkler system installed, but if you live in an older home, you’ll have to pay a professional to do it or install it yourself. While it is a good amount of work, having one less thing to worry about is always worth the trouble.
SET A TIMER
If you don’t have an automatic sprinkler system, you can set a timer to remind yourself to shut off the water. How many times do you remember your dad rushing outside to shut off the water because he got sidetracked? It happens all the time to the best of us. There’s a lot going on and it’s incredibly easy to forget that you turned on the water half an hour ago. The wife asked you to take out the trash, you’re working in the backyard and any number of other things can distract you from what’s happening out front.
Do yourself a favor and set a timer when you’re watering your lawn. Use an egg timer, set the oven timer, tap the timer app on your smartphone, or pick up a hose timer to help guarantee that you don’t damage your lawn by overwatering. Even if you have a big lawn with multiple zones, there are programmable timers with hook ups for multiple hoses to water different sections independently.
Overwatering is harmful to your lawn, especially new ones or if you’ve just seeded a lawn. Heavy watering can wash away those seeds leaving your soil patchy which gives weeds the room they need to grow. It can also drown your roots by displacing the oxygen they need. Over-watering also creates a breeding ground for fungus and disease just like watering at night.
The best way to make sure you don’t is to pay close attention the first time you’re watering your lawn, track the right amount of time, and then set a timer.