In the heat of the summer everybody thinks they should be watering everyday to try to keep their lawn healthy, but that is not the case. Actually the best method for watering the lawn is infrequent, deep waterings. You see the roots of the plant will go to where the water is. If you water every day for 30 minutes or so that is shallow watering so the roots will actually rise to the top of the soil looking for that water. Watering deep where the water gets inches deep into the soil and makes those roots dig down deep after that water and that is what we want, a plant with deep roots. On average your lawn should get 1 inch of water a week, in the hottest days of summer with no rain you can increase this to 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″.
So the next question is, “How do I know how much water I am putting down”? An easy method to determine this is the tuna can test. If you don’t have an empty tuna can you can use another small container with flat sides or pick these up on Amazon. Place the tuna can or whatever water capture device you choose in several spots around the lawn and run one zone at a time. You can run for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. Once you determine how much water you get in that period of time you can figure out how long and how many days per week you need to water to get to that 1″ mark. Let’s say you water for an hour and you get a half inch. You then determine that you can water twice a week for 1 hour each and in the heat of the summer you can add on an extra day. Also in the heat of the summer it is not a bad idea to introduce an extra cool off cycle. Say around 2 or 3 pm water for 5-10 minutes per zone just to give the grass a break from the heat.
Now that we know how long each zone should run we can move on to the next question which is, “When should I water and does it really matter when I water”? It does matter when you water, especially if you are in a really humid climate. For cool season turf especially, you do not want water sitting on the turf overnight which can promote fungus. I like to start my watering in the middle of the night so that all zones are done by 6am, you could water up to 8am as well. This way the temps are cooler, the soil really gets to soak in that water and the upcoming heat will evaporate that water off the grass blades so it does not sit and add the potential for fungus. If you must water in the afternoon try to have the last zone complete by 7pm at the latest so that it is still warm enough to evaporate as much water off the blade as possible before the overnight temps and humidity set in. Contact us for all of your lawn care needs in Lebanon, Tennessee.