How to Water Your Lawn Wisely
When to water
Determining when your lawn needs watering is the first step in maintaining healthy, vigorous turf grass. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings to encourage roots to delve deep into the soil to seek out sources of moisture buried in the ground. When these underground reserves are depleted, the grass begins to wilt, signalling that it's time to water. Watch for telltale signs of thirst: lawns will take on a faint bluish tinge and footprints will leave impressions when you walk over the grass. Depending on the weather, lawns need to be irrigated weekly during the growing season.
Generally, it's best to water early in the morning when grass blades are turgid and better able to take up moisture. Morning irrigation also allows the grass to dry out during the day so that little moisture remains on the blades overnight when fungal diseases can build up. However, if it's inconvenient or your lawn is in dire need of watering, irrigate as soon as you can.
There are many different types of lawn sprinklers available, including fan, oscillating and rotary types. Choose the one that is best able to cover the entire lawn, evenly and completely, and connect it to a hose and faucet. If no one type of sprinkler will reach all parts of the lawn, move the sprinkler from area to area so that all sections of the lawn receive enough water.
How long to water depends your soil type. Clay soils absorb water more quickly than sandy ones. The goal is to water long enough for moisture to penetrate to the roots of the turf grass, about 15 to 20 centimetres deep. As a rule, five centimetres of surface water will penetrate this deeply into the soil.
To determine how long to water, turn on your sprinkler and make a note of the time it takes for moisture to reach the root zone. (Use a trowel or soil probe to periodically dig out a divot of soil to check how far the water has reached.) Alternatively, place a rain gauge on the lawn to measure the amount of water coming from your sprinkler.
After watering, stay off the grass. Walking on water-soaked lawns can damage turf and cause soil compaction.
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