If you were to ask several people how often you should water your lawn, and for how long, you’re bound to get many different answers. Chances are one will be right on the money. But which one? There are many theories on proper watering. Some people do it every day, others once a week, or even “whenever I get around to it.” How do the experts feel? Here’s the scoop, according to those in the know.
First of all, you should forget daily watering for a couple of reasons. It simply isn’t necessary, and with many restrictions in place lately regarding “odd and even day” watering, it’s not allowed. Besides, that method isn’t exactly fair, since those with odd-numbered addresses get two straight days of watering when a month contains 31 days. But there’s no need to be concerned. Your lawn doesn’t need that much water anyway.
Most experts agree that your lawn needs about an inch of water a week, be it from rain or your sprinkler. That can be accomplished with one good, thorough soaking instead of daily watering for a few minutes at a time. It’s fairly easy to determine how long your sprinkler needs to run to provide an inch. Next time you water, place a couple of coffee cans or other containers in the path of the sprinkler. Note how long it takes to get one inch of water in the containers.
The best time of day to water is during the early morning hours – around 3:00 – when the water pressure is highest. In addition, water will have a chance to soak down into the ground before evaporating, thus providing the most benefit for the lawn. And any water left on the lawn will be evaporated away in a timely manner when daylight arrives.
Mid-afternoon watering is probably the worst time to water, as far as efficient water use is concerned. Too much will evaporate away before it has a chance to soak down. You’ll be using a lot of water, but won’t be doing your lawn all that much good. Even though it may be very tempting to turn on the sprinkler during one of those scorching days, hold off on it.
Evening watering will permit the water to soak down just fine, but water will remain on the lawn way too long, which can invite fungus and diseases.
If you don’t have an in-ground sprinkler system, you’re not about to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to water. I don’t blame you, because I won’t do that either. In that case, put the water out as early as you can, before the sun starts heating things up. But, with getting ready for work, that’s not always the best solution either. So early evening is the next best time. Water may linger on the lawn for a while, but the soaking the grass gets is far better than doing nothing.
Some people will get the hose every so often and walk around the lawn spraying water everywhere. Other than the health benefits of walking, little else is getting accomplished. A few minutes of watering with the hose here and there isn’t going provide anywhere near an inch.
In-ground systems can be easily set for time and duration, so if you’re fortunate enough to have one, so much the better. Check your sprinklers often, though, to make sure they’re properly aligned. When an improperly-adjusted sprinkler springs into action in the middle of the night, anything can happen.
When setting hoses and sprinklers out, make sure you take any wind into consideration. The ideal spot for your sprinkler a few days ago may not be so ideal when it’s windy. A sudden gust can put open windows, sidewalks, streets and parked cars into the sprinkler’s new, unintended path.
Proper watering techniques will not only help your lawn, they’ll allow you to easily comply with many watering restrictions put in place. And wise water use is something everyone can benefit from.