Setting up a sprinkler system and trying to figure out what the best way to water a lawn, is the most important aspect of organic lawn care. The biggest frustration that homeowners face is who's advice to take when it comes to setting up a sprinkler system and lawn watering. The best advice about lawn watering is to ignore the advice from the following people: the guy that mows the lawn, your irrigation guy, the master gardener friend, your landscaper, the neighbor and all chemical lawn care companies. They all have good intentions, but they are not organic lawn care experts.
The most common lawn watering mistake the most homeowners make is they over water the lawn. It is much more damaging to over water a lawn versus under water a lawn. Over watering a lawn causes the soil to become anaerobic or absent of oxygen. Water replaces air in the soil and anaerobic soils become compacted, prevent deep digging grass roots, and will kill beneficial microbial activity.
The best way to water a lawn is via the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique. This lawn watering technique is a very deep watering, but it also allows the soil to completely dry out before the sprinkler system waters again. Organo-Lawn invented this lawn watering technique specifically for the climate of Boulder and Fort Collins Colorado, but this technique is universal worldwide.
Some clear signs of over watering a lawn include: severely compacted soils, the presence of Necrotic Ring Spot lawn fungus, the abundance of insect pressure, mold, root rot, and a shallow root system. Over watering a lawn is much worse for the grass and trees than under watering a lawn because a lawn that is watered too much will starve the soil of oxygen. Air is extremely important to the health of the soil and to promote deep digging grass roots. Most of the time when we see a lawn watering problem in a Boulder or Fort Collins area lawn, we advise the customer that we need to adjust the lawn watering schedule in their lawn, they often assume we want to increase the amount of water. This might be true some of the time, but the majority of the time we end up reducing the frequency of days the lawn is being watered and increase the duration. After we perform a sprinkler audit and set up the system to water according to the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering principals, the lawn is usually being watered deeper and less frequent. Most of the time, after we make our adjustments, the total water use is reduced.
This is a picture of Necrotic Ring Spot Fungus which is caused by severe over watering of the lawn.
Greater than 85 degrees F2.1 inches of water per week(7/10th of an inch of water 3 times a week)
Between 70-85 degrees F1.4 inches per week(7/10th of an inch of water 2 times a week)
Less than 70 degrees F.7 inches of water per week(7/10th of an inch of water 1 time a week)
Greater than 85 degrees F1.5 inches of water per week(1/2 of an inch of water 3 times a week)
Between 70-85 degrees F1 inch per week(1/2 of an inch of water 2 times a week)
Less than 70 degrees F.5 inches of water per week(1/2 of an inch of water 1 time a week)
Greater than 85 degrees F1 inch of water per week(1/3 of an inch of water 3 times a week)
Between 70-85 degrees F.66 inches per week(1/3 of an inch of water 2 times a week)
Less than 70 degrees F.33 inches of water per week(1/3 of an inch of water 1 time a week)
Daily lawn watering is extremely damaging for a lawn. Daily lawn watering prevents the roots of the grass from growing deep into the soil. These shallow grass roots will make the lawn unable to stay green during the heat of the summer.
The best way to promote the grass' roots to start digging deep into the soil is to water deeply and infrequently. After changing the lawn watering to the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique the lawn might look worse before it starts to look better. The lawn will start to look healthier as soon as the grass' roots start digging deep into the soil.
Obviously over watering a lawn is a waste of water, but it causes an abundance of other lawn problems. Some of these problems include: severe compaction of soil, the presence of Necrotic Ring Spot fungus, the abundance of insect pressure, molds, root rot, a shallow root system, and dead soils.
Most of the time when we see a watering problem in a Boulder or Fort Collins area lawn, we recommend to the customer a sprinkler system audit. Many people think that we want to water their lawn more. This might be true in a very small percentage of cases, but the majority of the time we end up reducing the frequency of the watering schedule and increasing the duration of the zone times.