On average, the typical lawn needs about one inch of water per week during the active growing season (spring, summer and fall); this can be provided by either natural rainfall or irrigation from sprinklers. In order to successfully give your lawn the exact amount of water it needs to flourish without risk of disease, you should measure out how much water your sprinkler is delivering to your lawn. Once you’ve done this, you can determine how often to water your lawn and improve your soil’s water holding capacity. This will not only give you a healthier lawn—it will also help you cut back on watering and save money.
How to Measure 1 Inch of Water
The only way to know how much water your lawn is getting when you turn on your sprinkler system is to measure it. You can do this by conducting an irrigation audit. First, make sure all sections of your lawn are getting coverage from your sprinkler system. If not, make adjustments.
Next, set out small containers throughout your lawn (tuna cans, water bottles or soda cans cut in half, etc.), let your irrigation run for 20 minutes, and measure how much water collects in each.
With this data, you can determine if you need to add or adjust sprinkler heads as well as how long you need to water to dispense one inch of water.
When and How Often to Water
Water deeply and less frequently. We recommend watering your lawn twice a week around 6:00 A.M. to make sure less water evaporates in the heat of the day.
If you determine that you can deliver one inch of water to your lawn using the above method, you will also want to have a rain gauge to measure how much your yard receives if it rains. Then you can turn off your irrigation system when rain is forecasted and turn it back only when needed to prevent overwatering.
Water Holding Capacity
By adding organic material to your lawn i.e. topdressing it with compost or well-rotted cow manure, you can improve the soil’s water holding capacity beneath your lawn while also providing much needed plant nutrients. Your lawn’s health starts with the overall quality of the soil.
This practice should not only give you a healthier lawn, but also enable you to cut back on watering and help you save money.
If you’re interested in reading more about setting up an irrigation system or want to learn more about the different types of systems, click here: All Things Irrigation. Be sure to also give your lawn the nutrients it needs with the Lawnifi® liquid fertilizer program. After all, lawns to don’t drink—they eat! Read more about Lawnifi at Lawnifi.com.