(Family Features) Watering the grass is a critical part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Watering too little can cause the grass to turn brown and thin out, creating room for weeds. Watering too much can lead to turf disease and shallow root systems, which means your grass is weaker and less able to stand up to drought, lawn-feeding pests and other problems.
TruGreen, the nation's largest professional lawn care service and part of the ServiceMaster family of brands, regularly monitors U.S. weather data to enable the company's trained lawn care specialists to effectively address local agronomic conditions while promoting responsible water conservation. The lawn experts at TruGreen have some tips to help you water your lawn the right way.
How to Tell When Your Lawn Needs Water
- Turfgrass plants are 70 to 75 percent water, so giving them enough water is vital. Symptoms of inadequate water are easily seen:
- Grass slowly loses its bright green color and starts to fade to yellow.
- You may notice wilting, which causes grass blades to roll or fold.
- If you walk across your lawn and your footprints remain in the grass, or lawn mower tracks remain visible, your lawn needs water.
- If grass loses its green color altogether and turns yellow and then tan, that signals drought dormancy. That means grass has stopped growing. Once your lawn has turned brown and lost all color during drought dormancy, it could take several weeks of steady watering to spur regrowth.
The most accurate way to determine whether your lawn needs water is to use a knife to cut a wedge of soil (through the turf) about four inches deep and feel the soil. Ideally, it should be moist, not powder dry nor soggy and wet.
"Signs of typical wear and tear on yards this time of year are amplified when lawns are stressed," said Ben Hamza, Ph.D., director of technical operations at TruGreen. "Brown spots on lawns may not always be from lack of water or nutrients, but instead from lawn-feeding insects that can mimic drought damage on select grass types. Homeowners need to have a clear understanding of the source of the yard problem to effectively resolve."
How to Water Your Lawn
Established lawns should be watered deeply, but infrequently. Deep watering once a week encourages deeper root growth, while frequent, shallow watering produces a limited root system.
- When watering, make sure you moisten the top three to four inches of soil, which covers the root zone.
- Although watering frequency depends on the type of grass, your soil, and the weather, most grasses require about one inch of water each week for healthy growth. Let Mother Nature do as much of the watering for you as possible.
- The best time to water is in the morning and in non-windy conditions. This conserves water and allows grass to dry before evening. Grass that remains wet for long periods of time is more susceptible to disease development. Watering in the afternoon is the worst for water conservation. Up to half the water can evaporate in the air or on the ground during the hot part of the day.
- If you're using a movable sprinkler, let it run in one spot just until the water begins to run off the surface, then move to a different area of the lawn.
- Monitor your underground irrigation or sprinkler system to be sure that you moisten the lawn's entire root zone without over-watering any sections.
- To help ensure uniformity, place a one-inch deep, empty food can in the middle of lawn area to measure depth of water collected after each watering cycle.
- Make sure you are familiar with and follow any local watering restrictions.
Learn more about watering your lawn at www.TruGreen.com.
Photo Courtesy of Getty