You know fertilizing and controlling weeds are just one component of a beautiful lawn. There are a hand full of cultural practices that in many regards are even more important than fertilizing and weed control. The one I want to discuss today is watering.
I find that most folks typically fit into two categories:
1) The first category and the minority is they aren’t watering at all or very little for a few reasons. Some don’t know how to use or care to even touch the water controller. Some just left it on whatever someone else before them had it set on. Some had a damaged head by the lawn mowing guy and haven’t fixed it, turning it off and forgetting about it. Some just think it is really expensive to water but if done correctly it’s not as much as you might think.
2) The second category and the majority is they are over watering. I find these folks are watering for one long period of time a couple or more times a week. Watering too much can cause several issues. One is it creates a favorable environment for fungal diseases and certain weeds to thrive. In new sod it can cause root rot. Another bad reason for watering like this is you teach your turf’s roots to not drive deep because they know they are getting water frequently and plenty. You want your roots to go deep!
Also your soil can only take in so much water a time so when you water like this I equate it to putting a sponge under a faucet. After a fews seconds of soaking in as much as it can the water then just runs off wasted. You want deep soil moisture and deep root growth and you achieve that by infrequently watering for shorter periods of time each week. Low and slow like cooking a champion brisket! Low amounts of time spread out over 3 cycles so water can slowly penetrate deep into the soil.
Watering Schedule Recommendation:
If your city has restrictions such as 2X/week then just drop a day use the higher end of the time range. My recommendation is 3X/week on the lower end of the time range if your able separated by 1 or 2 days. Don’t do the 3 days in a consecutive row.
- For turf and flower bed fixed pop-up heads: At 12am, 3am, and 6am each of the 3 days for 5-8 minutes.
- For turf rotor heads : At 12am, 3am, and 6 am each of the 3 days for 8-10 minutes.
- For flower bed drip zone irrigation: At 12am, 3am and 6am each of the 3 days for 8-10 mins.
That’s it! If you have areas that hold water or you neighbor is watering too much and it overflows into yours you may decrease your time or in some rare cases just turn that zone off.
Irrigation Maintenance Tips:
- Always double check your time and date settings.
- If your controller has a place to put a 9V or other size battery this will save your settings in case of an electrical outage. They are usually behind the pop-off portion of the controller panel.
- Ensure your seasonal adjustment is at 100%. If drought arises you can increase this by 20% increments to ensure turf doesn’t stress or dry out.
- You should have your system checked at a minimum of once a year preferably in the early spring. 2X a year is best! If done correctly this will ensure you have complete coverage of your lawn being watered, no damaged heads causing Old faithful geysers in your lawn and increasing that water bill, filter screens are clean and not clogged restricting water flow, heads are straight and low enough to not get hit by the lawn mower but high enough to ensure water goes where it needs to and all valves are communicating with the controller and opening and closing correctly.
If you haven any questions or comments please do so below!
-JP Owner of Higher Ground