Instead, many of us may need to rethink how and when we water our lawns and for how often, as the results can be remarkably different between the different methods of watering lawns.
Watering turf the old fashioned ways of a quick 10 minute water cycle on set days of the week has never been good practice. This short watering never gives a deep soil wetting, but instead keeps only the top level of the lawn soil moist. Then when combined with the regular watering cycle of twice or more times per week, the lawn is being trained to only ever send out very shallow roots at the very top of the lawn topsoil.
The problem here is that the lawn requires this ongoing water supply at regular intervals at all times in order for the lawn to stay green and alive. Then many times when the first heat wave begins in Spring, we can often see many lawns suddenly become damaged, and often quite severely, when this top level lawn soil heats up and dries out, and the shallow root system of the lawn then also dries out, which then causes sudden shock to the lawn, resulting in lawn damage and sometimes lawn death.
It's a bad system that's had its day.
Watering Lawns Correctly
Now with a better lawn watering system, we can have a far more heat and drought tolerant lawn, while using far less water. And it's really very simple to achieve.
First switch off all automated watering systems, or forget all preplanned watering days or times. We've been telling the turf when it needs to have a drink, and that's been wrong... instead, we want the lawn to tell us when its thirsty and needs a drink from now on.
Just as a warning, do not attempt to make these changes in the heat of Summer if your lawn has a shallow root system, wait until either Fall or Spring to begin these changes.
We want to stop all lawn watering, then we keep monitoring the lawn health to ensure its doing OK. Once we begin to see the lawn leaf begin to start wilting and beginning to look like it's drying out, that is when we water the lawn, and we water the lawn deeper and for longer than we normally would. This sends enough water down past the evaporation level at the top of the lawn soil.
We then forget about watering the lawn again. While monitoring its health, repeating the same cycle from now on. Only ever watering the lawn once it starts wilting in its leaf, and then watering very deeply.
This watering method trains the lawn to send its roots down much deeper into the soil to find more water when the available water at the top of the soil is no longer available to it. Over time the lawn will grow its roots deeper and deeper into the soil to look for this water, until the roots of the turf are so deep that they are constantly below the evaporation level which is at the top of the lawn soil.
The result is the lawn gains much of the water it needs from the natural environment, rather than from us watering the lawn ourselves.
Then each time we do water the lawn, we water very deeply to ensure a good supply of water can go below that shallow evaporation level.
As an example of this method, with my own turf and my neighbors lawns. I see their automated watering systems running twice a week, every week on set timers in Summer. While I water my lawn once a month in Summer. As their irrigation faithfully waters their lawns once a week in the Fall, I water once at the beginning of the Fall, and I will not water my lawn again until Spring arrives, and likely mid Spring for the first watering. My correctly watered turf is greener, never suffers heat stress, and uses a fraction of the water than most other lawns in my city.
Lawn watering... there is a wasteful and inefficient way, and there is the correct way.
Roger Everett has been a professional operating in the lawn care industry for 15 years, who now shares his experience, as well as his love and passion for lawns with others at his dedicated Saint Augustine grass lawn care site. Roger covers most turf care topics in depth for homeowners, such as discussing how often to water lawns, as well as more specialized turf care topics including how to repair damaged lawns. For more lawn care articles similar to this one, please visit The Saint Augustine Lawn Care Site.
Article provided by Roger Everett