With summer sun and the smell of fresh-cut grass, you’re ready for some backyard fun. But before you can do that, you have to make sure your lawn is green, thick and healthy.
Knowing how much and how long to water your lawn can be confusing. You want to do it just right so your lawn’s root structure won’t dry out causing yellow and brown spots in your grass.
Lawn watering isn’t rocket science and following a few watering tips will keep your grass thick and green.
Are you ready to take the steps to a healthy lawn? Read more to find out the best time to water grass.
First Things First
Before you worry about how long to water grass, you need to make sure it’s the right height. When you mow your lawn, don’t cut it too short. This is a sure fire way to have the hot sun burn it.
To have a vibrant lawn, set your mower to cut so your grass is from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high. This prevents the roots from drying out. Each time you mow, only cut the lawn by one-third its height.
When Is the Best Time to Water Grass?
To keep your lawn looking its best, don’t water it during the heat of the day or at night. The best time to water grass is in the early morning when the air is cool.
If you water your lawn at night, it promotes disease and fungi growth. Watering during the daytime heat wastes water because of evaporation.
Sometimes, in very hot weather or during droughts, your lawn might show signs of stress. In this case, you want to increase lawn watering. You can tell your lawn is stressed if you see yellow or brown patches.
These patches can spread rapidly throughout your lawn if you put off watering.
How Long to Water Grass
It’s best to water your lawn deeply. The water should reach from four to six inches below the surface. This is how deep your lawn’s roots grow.
When you allow the water to reach deep into the soil, it encourages the roots to grow further down into the soil. This protects your grass on hot, sunny days.
The length of time you water depends on the type of soil you have in your yard. For example, you might have clay soil that needs less water than sandy soils.
If you’re not sure how far down the water reaches, you can do an easy test. Get a long screwdriver.
f you can push it six inches into the soil without resistance, then you’re watering enough. If the screwdriver doesn’t go into the soil easily, then you need to water more.
You can also calculate the amount of water you need using your sprinkler’s flow rate as a guide. This is where you put on your thinking cap.
Multiply .62 gallons by the square feet of your lawn. This calculates how much water you need for one inch of water for every square foot. Once you figure out the number, divide it by the flow rate of your sprinkler.
Most new sprinklers tell you the flow rate. If you have an older one, you can figure it out by placing a bucket under your sprinkler and see how long it takes to reach one inch of water.
Your final calculation is how long to water your lawn. It also helps to use a water timer to make sure you’re watering enough each time.
How Often to Water a Lawn
Now that you know how long to water your lawn, the question is how often should you water it? You might think it’s a good idea to water every day, but this isn’t true.
When you water every day, your lawn develops a shallow root system. When the roots stay near the surface, they dry out quicker and weaken the grass.
A healthy lawn needs deep watering three times per week.
This gives your grass plenty of water for a strong, deep root system.
What to Consider When Choosing a Sprinkler
When you’re in the market for a new sprinkler, consider the following factors before you buy one.
How large is your lawn? Think about how far you need the water to spray to get the best coverage. Do you want to get several sprinklers to cover your lawn or do you want a ground irrigation system?
One way your water pressure is measured is in pounds per square inch (PSI). Another way is gallons per minute (GPM). These measurements will be different for all sprinklers.
The PSI or GPM depends on the type of sprinkler you get, the distance it sprays and the area it covers.
Most lawn sprinklers have 30 PSI. Be careful when you choose the sprinkler because some have up to 80 PSI, which can damage your plumbing.
Although inground sprinklers take the hassle out of moving your sprinkler around the yard, they require a lot of digging. Think about the cost of installation to make sure this is the right choice for you.
However, keep in mind that in-lawn sprinklers are very efficient and can be worth the investment for your home.
Of course, sprinklers that connect to your hose don’t require installation. Just screw it onto your hose, and you’re good to go. The only problem is if you have a large yard, these sprinklers aren’t practical so an irrigation system may be your best bet.
Look for a durable sprinkler made from rust-proof metal, copper or ABS plastic. Also, check that it has a sturdy base so it doesn’t fly around when you turn on the water.
Take a look at the connector to make sure it’s leak-resistant. You don’t want a pool of water collecting around your sprinkler because of a leaky connection.
Best Sprinklers for Lawn Watering
When you go to your home garden center looking for a sprinkler, you’ll find tons of choices. Select the one that fits your needs. Whether you want an irrigation system for your whole lawn or single sprinklers for smaller areas, it doesn’t matter as long as your grass gets the water it needs.
Here are a few of the most common sprinkler models other than irrigation systems:
- Oscillating sprinklers – These have a wide range and some models can spray up to 4,000 square feet by oscillating back and forth. These are good choices for new lawns and seeding.
- Spinning sprinklers – When the sprinkler spins, it sprays water in a circle that usually covers about 30 feet. These are favorites for kids who want to play in the sprinkler.
- Pulsating sprinklers – These pulsating, revolving sprinklers connect to your hose and have a stake to hold them in the ground. The water shoots out at a high velocity covering up to 1,600 square feet.
Keep Your Grass Looking Its Best
Following these lawn watering tips and using the right sprinkler or irrigation system will give you the lawn of your dreams. It will have a strong root system and grow so thick you’ll want to run around in it barefoot.
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