Watering the lawn during the warmer months of the year means that the water bill goes up, but is all of that watering really necessary? How much water is required for grass to grow and flourish? Our garden supply store has some tips for the optimal watering of lawns in Harrisburg, PA.
How Often Should You Water?
This area of Pennsylvania typically receives around 42 inches of rainfall per year, but this is not enough water for grass, which can be stressed during the dry summer months. It is more beneficial for your client’s lawn if it’s watered deeply once per week than to water it more frequently but for less time. Grass is made up of approximately 85% water, and the roots are shallow. This means that watering deeply causes the roots to grow deeper as the water filters down into the soil.
Heavier soil does not absorb the moisture as well as sandy soil, so it must be watered longer for the water to penetrate to the roots. One way to test what kind of soil a homeowner is working with is to push a screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, the watering is sufficient. If the screwdriver has difficulty penetrating the ground, it needs more water. Five to six inches into the ground is a good rule of thumb for how much watering is appropriate.
How to Water?
If a Harrisburg, PA, lawn has a sprinkler system, then the lawn would be watered in zones. This is by far the best and proper way to water a lawn. But what if there is not a system in place already? Hiring a professional irrigation contractor to install an automatic system is advisable. This system would enable deep water coverage only once per week to keep the lawn healthy and thriving. Most lawns need about one inch of water per week.
When to Water?
Homeowners may be surprised to learn from you that the time of day matters for optimal watering of the lawn. But there are actually specific times of the day to optimize the lawn watering schedule. Here are some general rules to follow: First, water early in the day, preferably before 9 a.m. The air is cooler then, and there tends to be little wind to cause the spray to blow away. The cooler earth temperature also results in less evaporation and greater penetration of water into the ground. If watering in the morning is not possible, then watering before 5 p.m. would give the grass blades time to dry before nightfall. Last, it’s good for clients to know that watering at night is not a good idea as the wet grass blades are likely to stay wet throughout the dark hours and will be more prone to develop disease and fungus because of the dampness.
What About New Grass?
Emphasize that new grass must be treated differently than established grass. Grass seed needs to be kept moist until it has sprouted and taken root. This is true for both patches that have been reseeded and for overall lawn reseeding. Even one day of no water can result in the new grass dying. Continue watering lightly twice per day until the grass is high enough to mow.