Proper lawn watering is the most important aspect of organic tree and lawn care, yet it is the biggest frustration that homeowners face. Most lawn watering problems that we see in the Boulder and Fort Collins area lawns are either over watering or poor sprinkler coverage.
As long as the sprinkler system's heads are adjusted properly, all the lawn watering problems can be fixed by following the lawn watering technique invented by Organo-Lawn called 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 Lawn Watering.
The ideal time to water a lawn is early in the morning before the sun comes up. Our recommendation is to have the sprinkler system programmed so the last zone finishes no later than 6:00 AM. If this is not feasible then the next best time to water the lawn is late evening. If the lawn is being watered deeply and infrequently then evening watering will not cause lawn fungus problems.
Pop ups (Stationary Fan Type) 18 Min
Impact Heads, Hunter, or Rotary (Spray a Long Stream and Move Back and Forth) 55 Min
Pinwheel Nozzles (On Pop Up Style Heads but Spray Little Streams that Move Around)45 Min
Drip and Micromist Time
Drip (Read Below)*60 Min*
Pop ups (Stationary Fan Type)15 Min
Impact Heads, Hunter, or Rotary (Spray a Long Stream and Move Back and Forth) 45 Min
Pinwheel Nozzles (On Pop Up Style Heads but Spray Little Streams that Move Around)35 Min
Pop ups (Stationary Fan Type)10 Min
Impact Heads, Hunter, or Rotary (Spray a Long Stream and Move Back and Forth) 35 Min
Pinwheel Nozzles (On Pop Up Style Heads but Spray Little Streams that Move Around)25 Min
Every Sprinkler System is Different: Every sprinkler system is at the mercy of how well it was designed and installed. The sprinkler zone time chart is a general area to start for how to water a lawn properly, when programming your sprinkler clock. If you want the best accuracy the best way to evaluate the system is to measure the output of the sprinkler system using rain gauges.
Drip System Note: The drip systems are designed to be run for 1 hour. The amount of water that comes out of the drip lines is not controlled via the clock but it should be controlled via the emitters. If installed properly each emitter is installed based upon how many gallons of water the plant it is watering will need. Each emitter is rated on a gallons per hour (GPH). This means if you have a small plant a 1/4 GPH or 1/2 GPH emitter should have been installed. Bushes tend to have a 1 GPH to 7 GPH emitter installed. If you have a large tree that needs more water it could have up to a 25 or 35 GPH Emitter installed. Therefore the gallons per hour are typically not controlled via the clock; they are controlled via the emitters and the GPH.
That being said many sprinkler installers do not understand this concept so if you have a better time based on the emitters that were installed we recommend that you use that time instead.
Rotary or Hunter Style Sprinkler Head
Popup Style Sprinkler Head
Pinwheel Style Sprinkler Head
Impact Style Sprinkler Head
Program your clock according to the Sprinkler Zone Time Chart above and as the season's temperatures change add days and take days away. This technique is invented by Organo-Lawn and it is called the 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 lawn watering technique.
Note: Never change the times of the sprinkler system zones. It is a very bad practice to add time or take time away during the summer. The reason behind this is because we want to water the lawn deeply and then we want the soil to dry out between lawn watering. Deep and infrequent lawn water will penetrate the soil 10-15 inches deep and the grass roots will dig after that water as the soil at the surface dries out.
If possible try not to water the lawn the day of nor the day after of the lawn being mowed. I.e. if you mow the lawn on Fridays then don't water the lawn on Friday morning nor Saturday morning.
January through Mid AprilSystem should be shut off
Mid April through Mid MaySprinkler Startup Water 1 Day per week
Mid May through Mid JuneWater 2 Days per week
Mid June through Mid AugustWater 3 Days per week
Mid August through Late SeptemberWater 2 Days per week
Late September through Mid to late OctoberWater 1 Day per week
Sprinkler Blowout through DecemberSystem should be off
Note: Each year is different but the calendar above is a good general time of year for how to water a lawn and when things need to be adjusted or services need to be performed on the sprinkler system.
*Sprinkler startups depend on the temperatures outside and the amount of natural precipitation.
**Sprinkler blowouts generally occur from October 10th-Late October; however, every year has different temperatures so watch the weather closely.
Organo-Lawn is your Colorado lawn care expert. Organo-Lawn developed the 1,2,3,2,1 lawn watering technique which is how to water a lawn properly in the Boulder and Fort Collins area.
Download a PDF version of How To Properly Water a Lawn