There are three key ingredients to a healthy garden: ample sunlight, access to water, and regular maintenance. If you want to keep your lawn green, you need to learn how to irrigate properly. Use too little water and the grass will slowly turn brown and die; too much water and the grass will suffocate and die. Knowing how much water to use and when to use it isn’t an exact science, but with careful planning and preparation, you can figure out the basics of lawn watering.
We all understand that plants need water to survive. Our country wouldn’t be able to feed itself without the use of complex irrigation systems to water farms. Lawns would start to die without sprinklers or landscaping services. But do we really understand how irrigation works? I’m going to share some gardening tips that will help unlock the secrets of proper lawn watering.
Here are a few tried-and-tested strategies you can try in your home. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a healthy, verdant lawn in no time.
Know when to water
If you want to get the most out of your home sprinkler system, you need to know the right time to water your lawn. The best time to switch on your sprinklers is in the early morning, between 6 am and 9 am. Ambient temperatures are lower in the morning, which helps minimize evaporation. If you time your watering right, you can keep the grass cooler for longer, which helps protect the blades from the intense heat of the sun.
If you missed your morning window, the next best time is to water in the late afternoon. The window for watering the lawn is shorter, however. You shouldn’t water too close to sunset, since cooler temperatures help grass retain more water overnight. That sounds like a good thing, but too much moisture can lead to fungal growth. It’s better to put off watering until tomorrow than to turn on the sprinklers at night. Night watering is one of the worst things you can do to a plant.
Let the water soak into the soil
Some people only water their lawn enough to keep the grass wet, but you need to let the water soak into the soil. The roots reach a depth of 6 inches (15.24 cm) or more into the soil, and if the water can’t get there, the grass will start to weaken. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to watering. You also need to consider the type of soil in your property.
The quickest way to determine if your soil is getting enough water is to do the screwdriver test. After irrigating the lawn, slowly drive a long screwdriver into the soil. You’ll know the lawn is properly watered if the screwdriver can easily penetrate the soil. If you encounter resistance, it means the water hasn’t reached the root systems. Alternatively, you can also use a shovel to lift the upper layer, but the screwdriver method is less invasive.
Use the right type of sprinkler
Not all sprinklers are designed the same. For instance, you want to use an in-ground sprinkler for irrigating lawns. In-ground sprinklers have a timer function that allows you to specify the watering times for maximum efficiency. The flow rate has also been optimized for your specific soil type. While the initial cost is steeper than other sprinkler types, your investment will pay for itself in the long run.
If an in-ground sprinkler system is out of your price range, your next bet is to buy a revolving sprinkler that you can connect to a garden hose. It’s a popular way of watering mature lawns and doesn’t cost as much as an in-ground sprinkler. It’s also less susceptible to high winds, ensuring every corner of the lawn is watered properly.
But if you’re working with a newly-planted lawn, you need to get an oscillating sprinkler. Revolving sprinklers are too harsh on the soil and can remove seeds and young grass. Meanwhile, the oscillating type shoots water at a lower velocity, preserving the integrity of the top layer.
These strategies cover some of the basics of proper lawn irrigation. We hope you can use these tips to keep your lawn healthy and green without wasting too much water. Proper watering strategies are essential to the long-term health of your lawn, and it pays to brush up on the fundamentals.