A lush, green lawn is difficult to establish and maintain without proper watering practices. Sometimes, homeowners will invest a lot of time and money in starting a lawn, but neglect to follow through with the right watering techniques necessary to maintain the grass. Protect your investment by making sure your lawn is correctly watered, whether you are just starting your grass or maintaining it.
Water New Grass Often
When you first establish a lawn, it is important to water it often. Grass seeds need water in order to germinate, and newly lain sod needs a lot of water for the roots to become established. Water it three times a day: morning, early afternoon and at dusk. If you are using automatic sprinklers, set them to water for between five and ten minutes. If watering by hand, wait until run-off occurs, then stop watering (or move to a new location). Once the grass is 3 inches tall, stop watering. Let the soil dry out, mow, and begin to use watering procedures for established grass.
Established grass should be watered to a depth of six inches. This is so the roots will be sure to get plenty of water even at their deepest point. Deep watering will also encourage the roots to grow even deeper. Water with a slow, steady stream. Drip systems are very effective at deep watering. Instead of light, frequent waterings, water established grass only once or twice a week, for 20 minutes.
Water in the Morning
Watering in the morning gives any standing water left on the soil's surface or grass blades ample time to evaporate in the day's sunlight. This prevents the growth of fungus, which can quickly develop in soggy lawns, especially if water is left on the grass overnight.
If you have grass that goes dormant in dry periods, stop watering it and let it go brown. Not only will this conserve water, but it will not harm your lawn at all. Water again in four to six weeks and watch the grass turn green again almost overnight. Do not let newly established lawns go dormant, however. If you just can't stand the look of brown grass, water when the grass begins to turn silvery-blue and your footprints remain on the grass when you walk across it.