Watering your lawn keeps it healthy and looking green and great. If you don’t water your lawn enough—an all too common problem—the grass can grow brittle, turn brown, and even become patchy and hard to grow.
Under-watered lawns can be go dormant or die out, especially during hot weather.
However, you can also water your lawn too much!
Watering your lawn too much causes the soil to become oversaturated and makes it difficult for grass and other plants to grow deep enough roots.
It’s important to water your lawn enough to moisturize your grass, but not so much that you are filling the soil with water at a faster rate than your grass can properly use.
These handy watering tips will keep your lawn not too dry, and not too wet—but just right!
Probe your soil to determine if it is too dry or too wet.
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The first step in determining whether or not you are under or over watering your lawn is to test the moisture–that is, to see how moist or dry the soil is. You can do this by using a soil probe, which removes a sample out of the ground or (if it’s fancy) uses electronic sensors to determine the moisture of the soil without removal.
These instruments can cost quite a bit of money, however there are ways to test your soil’s moisture without them.
You can take a simple narrow screw driver and push it into the ground of your lawn. If you can penetrate the lawn about 6-8 inches, or the suggest depth of roots in your soil, then your soil is “just right.”
If you cannot penetrate that far, your soil is too dry.
It’s a bit trickier to determine over watering with this method, but if your soil feels wet instead of moist when you penetrate it with the screwdriver, this can indicate overwatering.
The sprinkler test
Lawn sprinklers have become a staple in modern lawn care. They can be turned on with a button or even timed to be automatic, and their wide range allows for more yard to be covered with less effort.
But is your lawn getting enough or too much water because of your sprinklers?
This is where the sprinkler test comes in. The sprinkler test measures how much water your sprinkler release within a given time, and can help you gauge whether or not you need to increase or decrease the amount of water sprayed by your sprinkler system.
To do the sprinkler test, you can place old cans or containers all around the area your sprinkler waters and let the sprinkler run on its normal setting for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, you can measure the amount of water in each container.
As a general rule of thumb, most soils need about 1 inch of water per week. Certain soil types may need more or less, but “general” lawn soil needs about 1 inch to help develop the proper root depth of 6 to 8 inches.
So, containers with too much water may indicate that area of the lawn is being overwatered, while containers with little water may indicate that area of the lawn is being underwatered.
You may also decide to move your sprinkler or sprinklers after seeing what areas need less or more water during each sprinkler set.
Best time to water lawn
It’s important to water your lawn at the optimum time each day, and to only water if your soil needs watering. A general test involves stepping on your grass.
If it is easily flattened, then your lawn needs watering.
But if it springs right back up, you should wait to water because the soil is still too moist.
Generally it’s better to water your lawn in the morning or evening as the sun is setting, because the cool air makes water less likely to evaporate, leaving more water for your lawn and its soil.
Use water absorbing crystals for stubbornly dry lawns
If your lawn seems persistently dry, you may need to help the grass retain moisture by using water absorbing crystals. These crystals will help your lawn to absorb water more efficiently, and even save you money on your water bill.
Watering your lawn too much or too little can have a negative impact on its health and appearance.
Knowing how to measure lawn moisturize and correct under and over watering issues will keep your lawn looking great and growing healthy.