One of the most common questions that we get asked this time of the year is: “How do I know how often I should water my lawn”. Luckily, the answer is quite simple: “It depends”. Think of all the things that go into having a healthy lawn that you have little to no control over; rain, sun, soil type, temperature, clouds/shade, evaporation, and I could go on. Because there are so many natural factors that go into the quality of your lawn that you cannot control, the one thing that you can almost have complete control over (the watering) has to be a science instead of a cut and dry solution that works for everyone.
Establish a Baseline
So, to make sure that your lawn is receiving the correct amount of water you must have a starting point, and that comes from establishing a base line that you can work from. A good baseline watering time frame should be somewhere between 7-10 days. Anything less than that and you will not have enough information to know what is working well and what is not. Anything more than that is not going to tell you anything extra, so there is no value in having a longer testing period. Make sure that you resist all urges during this time to make changes, no matter how bad you think that the lawn needs it. You need this control period to remain unaltered so that the results can accurately show you how you need to change your watering habits.
After your 7-10 days are up, then you get to start investigating how well your baseline did. One common mistake that people make at this point is they will look at a small portion of their lawn and decide from there that they may or may not need to make any changes. Do not make this mistake. Each area of your lawn could potentially (and probably will) need different watering times. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just nature doing its things, so do not fight it. Understand it and work with it. Areas of your lawn that look or feel dry need to have their watering times increased, whereas wet areas should have their times lessened. After you make the changes you will want to leave the zone times alone for a few more days so that you can see how well your changes do, and help you determine if you need to make additional modifications. When you are testing the different run times, do not make major alterations to your schedule. Most of the time adding/subtracting 3-7 minutes can make all the difference that you need. You will probably need to fine tune some of your sprinklers, but to do that you just follow the same pattern that you have already established.
Wouldn’t it be great it once you got your sprinkler fine-tuned to the perfect amount of watering that you didn’t have to touch them again for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not going to let you do that. You are going to have to go through the same “testing” routine throughout the summer, because your lawn is going to want more water during the heat of July then it will need during the cool days of May. The one thing that you can do to make this a little easier on yourself is that you will want to add days to your watering schedule instead of adding time to days that you are already watering on. If you are only watering a couple of days during the first part of the season then as the temperature starts to increase add a third day in there instead of increasing the amount of time that your sprinklers are running each day, and then keep adding days as the temperature gets hotter, and then start doing the opposite towards the middle of August when the temperature starts to decline again.
To finish things off, let’s leave you with a few little pointers that can sometimes make a big difference:
- Do not mow and water your lawn on the same day. This might sound a little weird because after you harm your grass (cutting it) you would think that you want to help it rebound quickly but stay away from this practice. It will vastly improve the effectiveness of mowing
- Along the same lines, do not water and treat for weeds on the same day
- Pay attention to rain forecasts. If you forget to lessen the amount of watering you do during rainy days, then you will quickly find that you are over-watering your lawn
- During the heat of the summer there is nothing wrong with watering up to 6 days in a row
- Pay attention to the changes that you are making in your watering times and watering days throughout the season because the changes that you will want to make the next year will be similar
- Running your sprinklers at night will lower the amount of needed water because there is less evaporation and it will also lower your water bill, as well as extend the life of all of your sprinkler system parts because they don’t have to run as long to get the same amount of water on your grass
Contact a Professional Sprinkler Repair Company for Help
Remember to not get frustrated with your watering. It is just simply a part of having a healthy lawn. If you need a professional to help you with any adjustments, or for any sprinkler repair remember that Organic Solutions is a full-fledged sprinkler repair and modification landscaping company, and we would love to help you out.