Many homeowners take great pride in having a green front yard. After all, nobody wants to have the house with a brown lawn!
Back in the 1930s, a healthy lawn was a sign of attaining a part of the American Dream. Although it’s an older concept, the mindset remains true since the average American spends 70 hours per year on lawn care.
However, not everybody knows what’s best for their lawn. Most people associate frequent watering with a healthy lawn. But the opposite couldn’t be more true: overwatering your yard is just as bad as not watering enough — which begs the question: how much is enough?
The exact amount varies on the time of year and your soil type, but there are many other factors that go into a healthy lawn.
When to Water Your Lawn
Your lawn will absorb water differently depending on the time of day, so it’s essential to know the best time for watering. Experts say a vibrant and thriving lawn requires watering between 6 and 8 a.m.
Here’s why: higher temperatures cause water to evaporate more quickly, but cooler temperatures in the morning help keep evaporation to a minimum. Then, with more water on it, the ground stays cooler throughout the day. A quenched lawn in the hot summer heat means less stress on the grass.
But there are also times you should never water your lawn, like in the evening. Watering after 6 p.m. will cause the water to sit overnight because the lawn will not absorb water in cooler temperatures. This increases susceptibility to disease and fungus growth.
How Much Should You Water Your Lawn?
Lawns will generally require about 1 inch of water per week. The exact amount varies on the season:
- Spring: a ½ inch of water every 5 to 8 days
- Summer: 1 inch of water every 4 to 7 days
- Fall: ¾ of an inch of water every 5 to 8 days
You’ll notice that it’s best to water more in the summertime. Part of this is because of the long, hot days, but it’s also because of the expected humidity levels. Continue watering your lawn early in the morning every week before evaporation and the humidity from the day takes place. If your grass is looking a little dull after a couple of days, then you can water it every four days instead.
On the other hand, it’s a different story when it comes to drought-resistant grass. Although drought-resistant grass is ideal for dry climates, it’s helpful in other parts of the country because it’s eco-friendly. It requires less water to establish a root system and remain green. Homeowners can water less often and instead rely on rain to do most of the work.
Does My Lawn Need Water
No matter the season, there are other ways to tell if your lawn needs more than you’re giving. Here are a couple of simple tests you can do to see if your lawn is thirsty.
The most straightforward test is called “the walking test.” You can test your lawn’s thirst just by walking on it. This test is all about the shape and bounce of the grass.
If the grass bounces back up a few steps later, then your lawn is healthy and in good shape. If your footprints stay down — even halfway — then it needs water.
The second test you can try is called “the screwdriver test.” You guessed it: you’ll need a screwdriver for this one.
Stick a screwdriver into the ground and try to reach about four inches down. Absorbed water should be 4 to 6 inches deep if it’s a healthy root system. If your screwdriver is moist between these points, it’s quenched enough. If not, then you know your lawn requires water more often.
How to Water Different Soil Types
There are several different types of soil, but most of them are categorized into one of these types:
“The difference is not how much water the lawn or garden uses but how much and how often it needs to be applied,” says Don Horneck, an agronomist at Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. “You should water sandy soils with smaller quantities of water applied more frequently than with clay and silt soils.”
If you don’t know your soil type, you can buy at-home kits to do some testing. In some areas, your town may offer soil-testing services. It’s helpful to know your soil type because the absorption of water depends on it.
What's Wrong With My Lawn
Everybody’s been there once or twice: despite taking excellent care of your yard, sometimes your grass just doesn’t respond. If your lawn is showing signs of yellowing or browning, there are a few reasons this could be happening.
Yellow lawns are a sign of iron deficiency, which means you may be overwatering. Brown lawns are a product of grass full of fungi, which means you might be watering too late in the day. Adjust your watering strategy accordingly.
However, if a brown spot isn’t responding to these small fixes, there’s another problem, like pests, fertilization, or acidic soil. You can even enlist some expert help if you’re not sure what’s going wrong.
What Kind of Sprinkler Should You Use?
Instead of busting out your watering can a couple of days a week, a more convenient investment is in a sprinkler system to keep your lawn healthy.
There are several types of sprinkler systems that serve different purposes. Most types of sprinklers can be easily manually installed through the end of a hose, while others require an underground or smart system.
Oscillating sprinklers are metal tubes that attach to your hose and wave back and forth to cover more ground. Because of their shape, oscillating sprinklers are ideal for rectangular lawns, but it’s safest to get one with at least 15 jets to ensure coverage.
Since you want to be sure you’re watering an accurate absorption rate for your lawn, oscillating sprinklers still require special attention. So for those who want a healthy lawn but don’t want to spend the time, a smart sprinkler system might be the answer.
Pulsating Smart Sprinkler Systems
Fifty percent of water used for the outdoors is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient sprinkler systems. Smart sprinkler systems are a great solution to this issue.
Pulsating smart sprinklers are part of an underground irrigation system that delivers water to gardens and lawns through buried hoses or pipes. They’re perfect for circular lawns and have the potential to reach up to 10,000 square feet. Since they can reach long distances, it’s best to use pulsating sprinklers for larger lawns to prevent flooding and wasting water.
With a smart sprinkler system, you can:
- Control the schedule through an app
- Reduce water use and save money
- Reduce water and soil runoff, which minimizes damage to sidewalks
- Measure the water’s flow rate
- Install moisture sensors, which help prevent overwatering
- Add value to your home
Underground irrigation systems are best for lawns with mature grass since the intense water stream can wash away fresh seeds. Whichever method you choose, it’s vital that your watering habits stay consistent to avoid stressing out the grass.
There’s no doubt that there’s a level of accomplishment that comes with a healthy lawn. Although the pride of neat, green lawn stems back to past generations, the love for a healthy lawn is still relevant today.
To avoid becoming the home with an unimpressive lawn on the block, remember these pointers:
- Water your lawn before 10 a.m. and never water it in the evening
- Only water your lawn between ¾ to 1 inch once or twice a week
- Water a little extra in the summer and on humid days
- Invest in a sprinkler system so that you don’t risk your lawn going dormant
And if you need a helping hand, consider consulting with the professionals at Nature’s Seed.