With the snow finally gone and warmer weather right around the corner it is important to take care of your lawn with proper maintenance. With proper care, your lawn can be healthy with strong roots that can uptake water and nutrients efficiently. Some common mistakes that people make are over water their yard or not using fertilizer efficiently. Setting up a schedule for watering and fertilizing can help to avoid these mistakes.
When should I water my lawn?
You should water your lawn when it gets to be a bluish tone in the sunlight, or if you walk on the grass you leave an indent in the grass. You should water your lawn early in the morning, preferably before 9am when there is less wind and sun.
- Watering your lawn midday in direct sunlight some water will evaporate and not be absorbed by your lawn.
- Watering your lawn late in the day could result in standing water for fungal disease and bad insects to take over your lawn
How often should I water my lawn?
It is best to water your lawn a few times a week rather than lightly watering your lawn every day. You should soak your lawn with water instead of just reaching the surface with a sprinkling of water; you want the water to go into the soil and roots of the grass. If your lawn is always slightly watered then you run the risk of fungal diseases, smaller roots and bad insects to take infect your lawn.
How much water is needed for my lawn?
An average lawn needs about one inch of water per week or approximately two 30 minutes sessions for an average sized lawn. However, you need to take into account the natural weather when deciding on the watering schedule for the week. You can use a rain gauge to know how much water has fallen naturally and how much you should add to your lawn. You can buy a rain gauge or create your own. To create your own you will need at least one can or more depending on the size of your lawn. Make a mark at the 1 inch level of the cans and place them at different areas of your lawn (ex. higher, lower, covered or open areas).
What if there is a Drought?
A drought occurs when there is an extremely low rainfall leading to a water shortage. During this time lawns can undergo extreme stress and it is best to let your lawn go dormant. Certain grasses are better for droughts as they no longer require food and water during that time but will grow, become green again and look healthy once the drought is over. Some drought tolerant grasses include Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Tall Fescue, and Kentucky Bluegrass. Some extra advice to use during a drought:
- Do not apply anything such as fertilizers or herbicides during this time
- Do not aerate
- Do not cut the grass too short, the length helps add shade to the soil and decreases water evaporating into the air
- Shade from tall plants or trees can also help decrease water evaporation
- Bare areas of lawn can cause water evaporation to increase and therefore leave the soil vulnerable to damage.
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