Skip Orth local lawn expert and owner of Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions, says one of the keys to having a healthy lawn is watering it properly and that proper irrigation is one of the most misunderstood aspects of lawn care. “The frequency, amount and even the time of day you water all play an important role in the health of your lawn. Irrigation is definitely not simply a ‘more is better’ situation.”
Mistake one: Watering too often
Skip says the best way to describe how often to water your lawn is to understand the true purpose of your irrigation system. “I like to communicate that you need to think of your sprinkler systems as a safety net against draught stress to be used as needed, not a crutch to keep the lawn propped up all the time.”
According to Skip, only using the sprinkler system when there is not enough rain to keep the grass healthy, instead of all the time, offers many health benefits to the lawn. These benefits include a deeper, stronger root system, less disease activity and less thatch build up. For people who just want to “set it and forget it” Skip recommends a once every two or three day watering frequency.
Mistake two: Not applying enough water at one time.
Skip explains that when you spread out the frequency of your irrigation, it is important to make sure an adequate amount of water is applied to the lawn at those times. In general terms, it is best to put down MORE WATER LESS OFTEN than less water more often. For example, a watering schedule of 45 minutes per zone every 2-3 days is much better than 15 minutes every day. The reason for applying more water is so it will be able to penetrate the soil deeper, which will promote deeper root growth. Applying a small amount of water frequently promotes shallow root growth because the water is always available on the surface of the soil.
Mistake three: Watering at the wrong time of day.
The ideal time of day to run your irrigation system, according to Skip, is the same time the dew is on the ground. The reason for this, he explains, is to avoid extending the number of hours in a day the grass is wet, which creates a favorable environment for disease activity. “Generally I recommend watering between 2 a.m. and finishing by 7 a.m. I never recommend watering in the afternoon or evening. If your lawn has to be irrigated in the afternoon in addition to the morning to be healthy, you probably have trained it into having a very shallow root system and need to take steps to reverse that condition before the lawn starts to decline.”
Should you water your lawn the same way all year long?
“We recommend to our customers that they shut off and drain their systems between the months of November and March. When grass goes into dormancy, it stops growing and doesn’t need any supplemental water. Keeping the grass wet over the winter encourages disease activity. I have seen yards that looked good when they went dormant in the fall but were watered throughout the winter and had large dead areas in the spring where disease had been active while it was dormant.”
Skip encourages homeowners to use their irrigation systems sparingly and offers a few tips on how to tell if the grass actually needs water. “First, look at the individual blades of grass. If they are in need of water, the blades will start to fold together and form a V. Once they start to do this it’s time to water. Second, the grass will lose its green color and start to take on a grayish appearance and will lose its resiliency when stepped on so that you can see your foot prints after walking across the lawn.”
Skip Orth has been in the lawn service business for over 25 years, and is the author of the book “What Every Home Owner Along The Emerald Coast Needs To Know About Lawn Care.” He has written several articles and holds frequent workshops on the topic of lawn care in the local area.
Do you need help keeping your lawn healthy? Skip offers appointments for a free lawn consultation. He can be reached by calling or texting 850-240-7935 or by email at email@example.com. For more information visit his website at www.fatherandsonlandscape.com.
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Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions phone or text 850-240-7935.
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