When To Water
Best Time To Water
Knowing when to water your lawn is key to good lawn care maintenance. The best time to water grass depends on the time of day, the weather temperatures, if there is fungus on the lawn, or when foot printing is evident due to drought stress. Foot printing is when footprints stay on the lawn after walking on it instead of the blades bouncing back up.
Timing Is EverythingYou don't automatically need to start watering grass just because the first warm days of summer have arrived. Actually, letting the lawn go under mild drought stress increases rooting, which is a good thing.
When you notice the grass turning a darker color, that is another indication that it's going under drought stress and it could be time to start your watering regime.
Taking a sample of soil from the root zone of the turf is yet another way to see how much moisture is evident.
The Early BirdThe best time of day for watering lawns is early in the morning, and if possible just before sunrise. Morning watering lets you take full advantage of the morning dew already on the grass blades.
On established lawns, morning watering allows the water to soak into the soil right down to the plant roots.
It minimizes moisture loss from higher temperatures later in the day, and has the advantage of calm from the wind that can cause water to drift from the intended target areas.
The ground shade naturally coming from the grass itself will allow the soil to dry out slowly throughout the day.
Without the help of an inground sprinkler system, it's pretty difficult to water before sunrise. The idea is that the earlier you water, the better it is for your lawn.
Evening WateringEvening watering should be avoided under almost all circumstances. It causes the ground to stay moist and makes an ideal environment for diseases and fungus to thrive in. These can weaken the root system, cause browning or even plant loss.
Evening watering is one of the most common errors Jim sees on the lawns, and one of the easiest things to correct. He would often comment on a lawn being infested with necrotic ring fungus and the homeowner watering generously after supper time, not allowing the lawn time to dry out before nightfall. The fungus would thrive in such an environment.
ExceptionThe exception to the rule of when to water is that evening watering can be alright during times of extremely hot weather when night time temperatures stay above 68 degrees.
In these conditions, late afternoon or early evening watering is best as it reduces evaporation that would happen during the very hot part of the day. The objective is always to get the most amount of water to the root system.
Another exception of when to water would be to give adequate water to a newly seeded or sodded lawn just getting established. In this case, it's better to water newly seeded areas several times a day until the seed has germinated. The goal is to keep the seed moist, not saturated, so avoid puddling which can wash the seed away.
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