As soon as warm weather hits, it is often tempting to get out there and start watering the lawn to make it grow and green faster. This may seem like the logical thing to do, but you could be doing your grass much more harm than good. A spring lawn has special watering needs to prepare it for the summer; a little patience can prove beneficial for your lawn.
Wait to water the lawn until after grass has greened up and shows beginning signs of wilt (the blades start turning colors), suggests the University of Missouri Extension. When this occurs will vary slightly from year to year, region to region and will also depend on the type of grass you have. Waiting, and avoiding over watering, helps grass establish a stronger, deeper root system which helps it survive hot, dry summers.
Choose a time in the morning to water. This allows the water to penetrate the earth, without evaporating into the air so quickly and also allows time for grass blades to dry before the hot afternoon sun. Another benefit to morning watering, according to the University of Missouri Extension, is prevention of grass fungal diseases. As the day warms, the moisture evaporates from grass blades, rather than lingering and inviting fungus--University of Missouri Extension recommends watering between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Use a sprinkler that fits on the end of a water hose, unless you have a sprinkler system installed.
Place tin cans or rain gauges on your lawn, to catch the water where it is hitting the grass directly. You’ll only need to do this once to find out how long it takes to water the lawn with enough water. Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine when the right amount of water has been deposited on a section of your lawn. Most lawns require 1/2 inch to nearly 2 inches of water per week, depending on the grass type; most kinds of fescue require right around an inch.
Water your lawn in the spring once a week, if no rain has fallen.