Water Wise

Did you know that over watering your lawn can cause the development of fungus and disease? So how do you know when and how much to water? That depends on what type of grass, soil conditions as well as factors such as humidity, wind and temperature. Generally, if your grass looks a bit blue-gray and some of the blades begin to curl or wilt…and if your footprints don’t bounce back…..it’s time to water.

When you do water, water deeply. Each watering should moisten the soil 6 to 12 inches, depending on the type of grass. To determine how long to run your sprinkler and find out how deep the water has soaked in turn it on for 15 minutes. After 18 to 24 hours dig a small hole in the watered area or push a shovel in and spread the soil apart enough to seek several inches below the surface. Divide the depth of moisture into the desired depth and multiply the 15 minutes by that number to determine how long to run your sprinkler. If the moisture is 4” below the surface and you want it to be 8” divide 8” by 4” to get 2. Multiply 15 minutes by 2 to get 30 minutes run time for the sprinkler each time you water.

Soil types make a difference as well. One inch of water will penetrate sandy soils about 12 inches; loamy soils about 6 inches; and clay soils about 4 inches. So how do you know when you have watered one inch? Place a container, such as a coffee can, in the center of the watering area. Check the depth at timed intervals until there is one inch of water in the can. Use that time as a setting for your system run time.

Water early in the morning to avoid evaporation…sometime between 4 AM and 9 AM when the air is coolest and there is less wind. Avoid watering on hot days to avoid putting solar heated water on your grass get the maximum benefit from your effort.

Don’t waste your water on the street. If water runs off your lawn into the street or drive before you have given it a deep watering, turn off the sprinkler for a few minutes to allow the water to absorb, and then continue as needed. You might move the watering to another area and come back later to finish.

Take advantage of rain. Don’t run your sprinklers while it’s raining. If your system is on a timer, there are sensors that can detect rain and automatically turn the water off. Use a rain gauge to see how much rain fell, then only water a bid more if needed.

Water problem areas by hand. Some areas may need more attention…if you water everything when the problem areas need watering you may over water and subject your lawn to other problems.