Summertime is the season for gatherings — BBQs, picnics, lawn parties, and pool parties — so we really want our grass looking its best. And one of the best ways to ensure a great-looking lawn is by properly watering it, particularly in the heat of the summer. Watering incorrectly leads not only to disappointing growth, but possible pest and disease problems. So follow our summer watering tips to make sure your lawn is ready for all the warm weather action right around the corner.
When to water: In a perfect world, you should water your lawn in the morning before 10:00 a.m. If you don’t live in a perfect world and must water later in the day, aim to water between 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Remember, the later you water, the greater the likelihood of creating disease conditions in your lawn, so avoid overnight watering at all costs.
How much to water: Most established lawns need an inch of water a week, whether they get it from Mother Nature or from you. An inch of water is enough to moisten the top 6-8” of soil where the grass roots grow. Avoid overwatering your grass, as that can lead to disease problems.
How to water: The “how” of lawn watering depends upon several factors:
- If you have a newly seeded or sodded lawn, it will need additional irrigation, so keep it moist but not soggy. Seeds need to be watered daily until they are about 3” high, then you can cut back to twice a week until the grass is established.
- Cool season grasses like perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass typically need more moisture and will go dormant if not watered enough. The good news? They’ll generally spring back after it rains or irrigation is resumed.
- Warm season grasses like Zoysia, bermudagrass, and St. Augustine generally require less water than cool season grasses. If you live in an area with high heat, low humidity, high winds, and drought, you’ll need to water a bit more.
- Automatic irrigation systems deliver water in an efficient pattern and according to a preset schedule. Make sure sprinkler heads are low to the ground to avoid undue evaporation.
- Hose-end sprinklers are ideal for small to medium-sized lawns and are easy and inexpensive to use. Place clean, empty tuna cans around your yard and see how long it takes to collect one inch of water in each, then use the average time to determine how long your hose-end sprinkler should run.
- Smart watering systems integrate well with in-ground systems and often have controllers that allow you to manage the system from your smartphone.