When the cold of winter begins to fade, you can almost feel the vibrancy of spring in the air. As trees restore their leaves and flowers begin to bud, homeowners can hardly wait for their lawns to shed its dead brown color in favor of the fresh green of the new season. Many eager proprietors hoping to quickly enhance their grass jump straight into a heavy watering schedule, without learning the correct methods to best help their lawns. In these cases, the lawns are often over-watered or under-watered, neither of which is helpful for growing grass.
How do you know how much water is too much water for a spring lawn? What if some areas of the grass need more water than others? As spring begins, consider these helpful answers to some common lawn care questions.
How do you know when to water?
Before you begin your first water treatment, take some time to examine the grass blades that make up your lawn. Look closely at the grass to determine whether there are any signs of wilting or dehydration present that would indicate a need for water. If your lawn is becoming a bluish-green color or the grass blades are beginning to curl rather than to grow tall and strong, your lawn could probably use a good water treatment. Another test for lawn dehydration involves simply walking across the grass. If a reasonably paced walk across the lawn leaves lasting footprints that are clearly visible, your grass is probably too dehydrated to snap back into its original form.
How much water does your lawn need?
Most lawns need somewhere between three-fourths and one inch of water each week. Over-watering can cause a great deal of damage by leading to more pests and insects nesting in the grass. In addition, using too much water can cause the grass to grow more quickly which requires additional lawn mowing and yard maintenance. How do you make sure that you water enough but not too much? Place a rain gauge in your lawn during your watering process to help you keep track of how much water is reaching the ground. When the rain gauge approaches one inch of water, you should stop watering for the week.
Be sure to water your lawn as uniformly as possible. Sprinklers are a simple and fairly inexpensive method of watering your lawn and they are very portable. The difficulty with sprinklers is that they very often require you to set up an overlapping system in order to cover your lawn fully. This can cause some over- or under-watering in certain areas of your lawn. The best option for uniform results is to install an irrigation system based on a timer that can be scheduled and run more efficiently.
What time of day should you water?
If possible, the best time to water your lawn is very early in the day while your lawn is still slightly damp from the nights dew. Since the grass is already wet, it will more fully accept and absorb the additional water before the heat of the day begins. During the middle of the day, any water sprinkled over the lawn will very quickly evaporate in the sunlight and heat. Nighttime is the second-best watering time option because the temperature begins to drop at dusk. However, keep in mind that adding water to the grass in the evening can also attract insects that may carry disease.
How frequently should you water your lawn?
This can be a tricky question because the answer depends on a number of factors. Generally speaking, you should space your water treatments as infrequently as possible. By spacing out the watering and by allowing the grass to soak up the water thoroughly, you will promote root growth. Frequent watering tends to encourage shallow root systems, often leading to the growth of crabgrass and other less-than-desirable grass varieties. The exception to this rule is for newly seeded areas of grass. These should be watered almost daily until the new grass breaks through and seems firmly established.
The best advice is to try to get your lawn on a watering schedule at the beginning of the spring growing season. By sticking to this schedule, your lawn will greatly benefit as it begins to refresh in the spring and grown throughout the summer. Consider employing a professional lawn company to help keep your lawn on a mowing and watering schedule. Professionals can more fully analyze your landscaping and lawn to make recommendations that will benefit it the most.