PROPER LAWN WATERING - 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 TECHNIQUE

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.


3 Easy to Follow Steps on How to Properly Water a Colorado Lawn:


Step 1: What Is the Best Time of Day to Water The Lawn?

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.



Step 2: How Long To Program Each Zone of the Sprinkler System:




Full Sun (South Facing Aspects)

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*


Micromist Sprayers

40 Min


Normal (East / West Aspects)

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


Drip and Micromist Time

Drip (Read Below)*
60 Min*


Micromist Sprayers

30 Min

North Facing Aspects or Full Shade
(North Sides or Under Trees)

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


Drip and Micromist Time

Drip (Read Below)*
60 Min*


Micromist Sprayers

20 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 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.



Click on an image below to enlarge.

Rotary or Hunter Style Sprinkler Head

Popup Style Sprinkler Head

Pinwheel Style Sprinkler Head

Impact Style Sprinkler Head


Step 3: How Many Days Per Week Should You Water Your Colorado Lawn?


How Many Lawn Watering Days per Week (1, 2, 3, 2, 1 Technique):

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.

  • Early Spring: Water the Lawn 1 Day Per Week (Sprinkler Startup - Middle of May)
    • When Colorado's daytime high temperatures average below 70°F: Water the lawn one day per week if it is cool and it is raining occasionally. One day per week lawn watering is typically between April to early May but every year is slightly different. (I.e. Water Mondays)
  • Late Spring: Water the Lawn 2 Days Per Week (Middle of May - Middle of June)
    • When Colorado's daytime high temperatures average between 70°F and 85°F water the lawn two days a week This is typically between the middle of May through early June. (I.e. water Monday and Fridays)
  • Summer: Water the Lawn 3 Days Per Week (Middle of June - Middle of August)
    • When Colorado's daytime high temperatures average above 85°F: Water the lawn no more than 3 days per week. This is typically is between mid or late June through mid or late August. (I.e. Water Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
  • Early Fall: Water the Lawn 2 Days Per Week (Middle of August- Middle of September)
    • When Colorado's daytime high temperatures average between 70°F and 85°F water the lawn two days a week This is typically between the middle of August through the middle of September. (I.e. water Monday and Fridays)
  • Late Fall: Water the lawn 1 Day Per Week (Middle of September - Sprinkler Blowout)
    • When Colorado's daytime high temperatures average below 70°F: Water the lawn one day per week if it is cool and it is raining occasionally. One day per week watering is typically between the middle of September until the system is winterized for the season. (I.e. Water Mondays)

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.


Monthly Lawn Watering Schedule for Colorado Lawns


January through Mid April
System should be shut off


Mid April through Mid May
Sprinkler Startup Water 1 Day per week


Mid May through Mid June
Water 2 Days per week


Mid June through Mid August
Water 3 Days per week


Mid August through Late September
Water 2 Days per week


Late September through Mid to late October
Water 1 Day per week


October
Sprinkler Blowout


Sprinkler Blowout through December
System should be off

Note: Each year is different but the calendar above is a good general time of year 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 the proper way to water a lawn in the Boulder and Fort Collins area.


Download a PDF version of How To Properly Water a Lawn