Tips for Hydrating your Lawn this Summer
You may have noticed that’s it’s been hot lately, and although we started out the year with an abundance of rainfall, the last few months have seen the amount of rainfall come in below the 30 year average…May was especially light with only 1.25” of rainfall. While Mother Nature typically provides enough water for your grass to grow strong (most lawns require 1-1.5” per week), there are times when rainfall needs to be supplemented – heat and drought fall in this category (along with newly planted or seeded lawns).
- Morning is the best time of day to water, most professionals advise watering be done between 6-10 am. Morning is best b/c it’s less hot and your lawn has a full day to dry.
- Avoid watering during the hottest times of the day, typically between 11 am – 5 pm
- Watering in the evening can invite mildew and fungus, and also increases the likelihood that the water will evaporate or be lost to wind. However, if you can’t water in the morning, the best time to water is early evening, b/w 6-7 pm
- consider cutting your grass less during periods of drought. Cut grass loses significant moisture and turns brown if not watered. Plus, taller grass blades can shade and cool the ground resulting in less moisture loss. As a rule of thumb, cut your tall fescue at 3”, zoysia at 2”, Bermuda at 1.5-2”and bluegrass at 2-3”.
- Monitor your watering to prevent aiming sprinklers at streets and sidewalks
Tips on measuring sprinkler output include:
- Set a few straight side containers on the lawn before turning on the irrigation or sprinkler (tuna fish or cat food cans work well)
- Run the water for 20 minutes, then measure the water in the cans
- To get an average, add all the amounts and divide by the number of cans
- Multiply the average by three to determine how much water is being delivered per hour
- Set your watering times based on these results
As a last resort, and especially during periods of extended drought or when watering restrictions are enforced, don’t be afraid to let your lawn go dormant and turn brown. Lawns are incredibly resilient, and healthy lawns (those fed well during the Spring) can endure dry conditions exceeding two months if left alone. Healthy grass will bounce back when rainfall and cooler temps return in the Fall. On the flip side, dormant lawns may not quickly bounce back if they receive a lot of foot traffic from pets or play, so in these instances, water accordingly.
Last, don’t be that person who waters their lawn when it’s raining. For obvious reasons this is a waste of a valuable resource, can lead to over-saturation, and unnecessarily increases your water bill!
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