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The Better Lawn Blog

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Water the Right Way

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How To Properly Water Your Lawn

We at Fairway Lawns like to refer to the work that we perform for our customers as “1/3 of the job.”

Of course, our lawn care technicians always give 100% to our work, but the fact is, 2/3 of lawn care maintenance is left to the homeowner. We proudly control your weeds, fertilize, and rid your lawn of disease and bugs with leading products, while we leave our expertise and knowledge with our customers to handle the other two very important jobs—mowing and watering. When it comes to watering your lawn, there is a fine balance between providing the right amount your grass needs and not wasting water and time.

The Best Time to Water Grass

If possible, the best time to water your lawn is between 4-7 AM. This way, your grass has a full day of sunshine to grow and absorb the water. Watering in the morning also helps your lawn stay cooler throughout the hottest parts of the day, decreasing the amount of heat stress for the turf. If watering occurs during the warmest part of the day, then most of the water will evaporate before it has the chance to really absorb into the ground. Remember—although we recommend morning watering, any time of day is better than none at all!

If you are unable to water in the mornings, early evening between 6-8 PM is the next best time. This will give your lawn enough time to absorb the water and dry before the sun goes down. However, do not water it too late at night. If lawns aren’t given enough time to dry off, they will stay wet overnight, which can make the grass susceptible to disease and fungus.

How Much Water Does a Lawn Need?

Fairway Lawns recommends that your grass receives about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn every few days and for approximately 20-30 minutes at a time. If you water more frequently for shorter intervals, the amount of water provided usually isn’t enough to reach deep down to the base of the grass roots. Under-watering can cause your lawn to experience drought damage, weeds, and other symptoms. The deeper the water goes, the stronger the grass will grow and prosper.

While underwatering your yard comes with its own sets of problems, drenching your landscape won’t make your problems disappear. In fact, overwatering your lawn can cause more damage than under-watering. Watering your lawn every day or even every other day can ruin your turf. The soil underneath your grass contains porous spaces containing oxygen vital to plant growth. Daily watering will push the air out of those spaces, filling the pores with water. This can cause the roots to suffocate and die, which can result in a shallow root system that is more susceptible to weeds, bugs, fungi, and lawn diseases.

Signs of Underwatering Your Lawn

  • Dry patches – Too little water could be the cause of those patchy areas of straw-colored grass
  • Visible footprints on grass – Your grass blades might be dehydrated if your turf is not springing back up when you step on it
  • Slowed growth – If you aren’t having to mow as often, your lawn’s growth may be stunted as a result of too little water

Signs of Overwatering Grass 

  • Thatch buildup – If there is a layer of decomposed plant material across the top of your lawn, it may be due to too much water preventing beneficial soil bacteria
  • Fungus – Thin or weak grass that has a reddish-orange color could be a sign of fungus from overwatering
  • Weeds – Overwatered lawns often develop hard-to-control weeds such as nutsedge and crabgrass
  • Insects – Too much water creates the perfect habitat for pests, so damage from armyworms, cutworms, or other insects could be the result of overwatering

How to Keep Track of Your Lawn’s Water

Between sporadic summer showers and pre-set sprinkler systems, knowing exactly how much your lawn is being watered can be easier said than done. That’s why we recommend setting up a rain gauge in an open area to measure how much rain landed on your grass, then, make up the difference with watering manually. Automatic sprinklers? Not a problem! Try a trick passed down from generation to generation—empty out a tuna fish can (or any small, flat can), and place it in a spot in your yard where the sprinkler hits. Run your sprinkler for your chosen amount of time, then dip a ruler in the can to measure how much water has accumulated. Then, just like with the rain gauge, make up the difference.

A common mistake that homeowners make when they have an automatic sprinkler system is they set it and then forget about it. Local weather changes all the time so it is best to keep an eye on changing weather patterns. For example, heavy rain likely means you will not need to run your sprinklers because nature is providing adequate water for your lawn—giving you the added bonus of conserving water resources. When you turn off your automatic setting, make sure you reset the switch for another time. Also, it is important to regularly check on your sprinklers as they are running to ensure they are working properly. A sprinkler head can become clogged or twisted and will need repairing.

Professional Lawn Care Service

Between proper mowing, correct watering, and Fairway Lawns’ treatments, your lawn will make your neighbors green with envy. In fact, we’re so confident that you will be completely satisfied with our services that we back our work with a money-back guarantee on your last application. Contact our lawn care experts today!