As the weather warms up, the canals begin to flow in the Treasure Valley, and sprinkler systems are being turned on, the question is asked: How often and how long should I water my lawn?
How often a lawn needs water depends on a variety of factors such as soil type, sunlight (heat), grass type, and climate. But on average a typical lawn needs 1 to 2 inches of water a week to stay healthy, lush, and green. And in order to grow the deep roots necessary for a truly healthy lawn, watering deeper and less often, rather than short shallow daily watering is best.
If you water your lawn once or twice a day at short intervals your grass will develop a shallow root system. Shallow roots dry out faster and weaken the health of your grass. It is recommended that you only water 2-3 times a week to develop strong healthy roots.
If you are only watering a couple of times a week, you will need to determine how long each watering should be. The best way to determine this is to measure the output on your particular water system. One way to do this is to get a container or a can and place it in the yard and let the sprinklers run until you have ½ inch of water. With most automatic sprinklers this should take about 30 minutes. This means that watering 3 times a week for 30 minutes will get you to recommended 1 ½ inches of water. Although in the hottest parts of the summer, you may need to add an additional day of watering to account for evaporation and the stress of the heat on the lawn.
Once you’ve determined how long each watering should be, next is determining what time of day you should water. Watering during the coolest part of the day will decrease evaporation as well as your overall water usage. You can water late in the evening but early morning is the best time because if the lawn remains wet overnight it is more susceptible to molds and fungi.
Having an in ground sprinkler system with a timer is the best way to ensure that your lawn is watered consistently and you can alter the length of time for different zones depending on the conditions. Grass that is in the shade will need less water than the lawn that is exposed to the sun all day. But if your grass is growing in the shade of a tree, it may need more water because it is competing with the tree roots for the available moisture.
Often people will set their timer in the spring and never give it another glance. The reality is that you need to review and adjust your timings on a monthly basis based on the climate. For instance July and August in the Boise, Idaho area are typically very hot and your lawn will need to be watered much more than in April or May when the weather is more mild and typically there is more rainfall.
One more caution if you are programming a sprinkler system, take the time to watch where the water actually goes. If you are seeing water on sidewalks and driveways, adjust the sprinkler heads to spray where it is needed. Watering effectively and efficiently will help conserve water and help our environment by avoiding needless evaporation and run-off.
At Organic Solutions! Inc., we specialize in:
- Sprinkler Repair
- Sprinkler Adjustments
- Sprinkler Start-ups
- Sprinkler Winterization and Blow-outs
For more information or to request a FREE estimate, give us a call, 208-884-8986.
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