The average American uses 82 gallons of water a day. That adds up to more than $1000 per year for the average family! Our lawns can be pretty thirsty, and water costs can soon spiral out of control.
The fact is though, we all want a fantastic, green, lush lawn! Putting cost aside for a moment, how often should you water your grass to keep it looking good? The answer might surprise you, and please your wallet!
Let’s dive into the question, how often should you water your lawn?
Debunking Lawn Watering Myths
There are plenty of myths and lore surrounding lawn care. Maybe you’ve seen guys out in their yards every evening, patiently watering their lawns. That’s myth one – you need to water your lawn every day.
The second myth is that you’ll save money using a hosepipe rather than a sprinkler system. The fact is, it’s much more difficult to water evenly with a hosepipe. A sprinkler waters evenly and therefore make better use of water.
It’s also really easy to overwater and underwater certain areas using a hosepipe. This will lead to problems that are costly to fix, so it’s a false economy.
If you do have a sprinkler system though, keep it in good order. Broken sprinklers can waste a lot of water. Choose a company that provides sprinkler repair and repair any broken sprinklers before the spring comes.
The last myth is that when you water your grass doesn’t matter. This is wrong – timing matters a lot. In fact, watering your lawn during the hottest part of the day will mean a lot of water is lost to evaporation.
Let’s look at the facts of how to maintain your lawn and landscaping with effective watering.
How Often Should You Water Your Grass?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, how often should you water your grass. You need to do a little research to find out what type of grass you have. Then take into account local weather conditions.
However, you’ll be happy to know that the answer is not watering your grass every day. For most grass types, it’s best to give them a thorough soaking – about an inch of water, once a week.
This is better for grass because it encourages root growth. Regular, light watering does not encourage roots to develop. But an irregular soaking will help the roots to grow deep and strong.
Overwatering can have serious consequences. You could end up with patches of mold or even rot developing. If the roots drown, the lawn could die.
However, an occasional soaking will not do this. It will also protect your grass during periods of hot weather or drought.
If you live in a very wet area, you’ll probably need to water it even less frequently. On the other hand, hot, dry climates may need more frequent watering.
Also, you only need to water grass during the growing season. Find out when your grass is dormant. During these times, there is little benefit to regular watering.
Best Time to Water Your Lawn
As mentioned earlier, you can’t just water your lawn anytime you like if you want a green, lush lawn.
You need to water your lawn early in the morning. Ideally, before the sun comes up so that there is very little evaporation. However, from 4 am to 10 am is OK.
Deciding When to Water Your Grass
You need to test the soil beneath your grass to see if it is dry before you water it.
You can use a screwdriver to check the first few inches. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. You can also buy an electronic moisture sensor from the hardware store that does the same thing.
It’s a good idea to check first so that you don’t run into issues with overwatering.
How Long Should You Water Your Grass?
The standard advice is to give your lawn an inch of water. How long does that take?
Perform a simple experiment. Leave several shallow containers on your lawn the next time you water it. Time how long it takes for them to fill up with an inch of water.
That’s how long you need to water your lawn.
How to Get a Greener Lawn
Now we’ve answered, how often should you water your grass, let’s think about getting a greener lawn.
Your lawn will thank you for those nice, irregular soakings. The roots of the grass will grow deeper and they’ll have more access to nutrients. But there are other things that can get in the way of grass getting fed.
Dealing with Thatch
Thatch is the term for organic material that collects on top of lawns. A little thatch is good – it provides an insulating layer, and as it breaks down imparts nutrients into the soil.
But too much thatch can become suffocating for the grass. The light can’t penetrate and neither can fertilizer or water. The answer to this is raking.
You need to push the tines of the rake deeply into the grass. This will help to remove the layer of thatch that develops below the grass level. The right time to dethatch your lawn will depend on the type of grass you have.
Aerate Your Lawn
A great piece of lawn care advice is to aerate your lawn. In some areas, you’ll need to do this every year. In other parts, once every three years will be enough.
It involves hiring a lawn aerator. This machine punches small holes in your lawn. It then deposits the plugs of soil it removes back on the lawn, where they can break down and nourish the soil again.
This allows air, water, and fertilizer to penetrate the root system of the grass more easily. The result? A greener lawn.
Fertilize For Success
A lush, green lawn requires the right nutrients. But that doesn’t mean that just any old fertilizer will do. The best way to get the right fertilizer is to get a soil test done.
This involves sending off a small sample of soil for analysis. The results will then help you to get the right fertilizer for your type of soil.
The Verdict: How Often to Water Your Grass
The answer to the question, how often should you water your grass, is not as often as you would think!
Give it a thorough soaking when the top three inches of soil are dry. Then let it have an inch of water in one go. This will develop strong roots, and help you to achieve a delightful, healthy lawn.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about how to get your lawn green and luscious! For more great hints and tips, check out our Home & Garden section today!