If you ask ten different lawn care experts how to water a lawn, you will get ten different answers. Do you take the advice of the sprinkler guy, the master gardener, the neighbor, or the lawn guy? Most experts have no clue how to properly water a lawn and they often end up over watering part of the lawn and under watering other sections. Lawn watering is the most important aspect of lawn and tree care and if a lawn is it is done poorly it can cause major damage to a lawn.
Organo-Lawn has developed the ideal way to water a lawn called the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique. This special lawn watering technique is based on logic and science and is easy to understand.
Improper lawn watering can cause lawn fungus problems, will kill beneficial microbial activity in soils, and causes shallow digging grass roots. The majority of lawn problems are caused by either under watering, over watering, daily watering, and / or poorly adjusted sprinkler heads. During a sprinkler audit, it is very common to find sections of a lawn that are being over watered and other sections that are under watered.
The 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering will reduce weed pressure, prevent grub attacks, reduce soil compaction, stimulate microbial activity in soils, and promote deep digging grass roots. Organo-Lawn invented this special lawn watering technique specifically for the climate of Boulder and Fort Collins Colorado, but this technique is will work on lawns in every climate.
Signs of an under watered lawn include the presence of the heat and stress fungus called ascochyta leaf blight, the yellowing of turf, and footprints that remain visible for a few minutes after a lawn has been walked across. Another clear symptom of a lawn that is being watered too infrequently is a dry soil with shallow digging grass roots.
Dy soils also lack beneficial microbial activity, because these microbes require moisture to stay alive. Properly watered lawns will have moist soils that are not over-saturated. Proper moisture is the key to building a living soil that is teaming with beneficial microorganisms is allowing the soil to dry out between lawn watering.
Watering a lawn every day of the week is extremely damaging to grass. Daily lawn watering is problematic for lawns because it causes shallow digging grass roots, flushes nutrients from the soil, and it kills microbial activity in soils. Lawns that are watered on a daily basis will struggle with poor color.
Daily lawn watering is even more damaging to the health of the trees, compromising tree's root systems and causes severe health problems like iron chlorosis.
Daily lawn watering is a bad practice because water replaces air in the soil and kills beneficial microbes in the soil. Also, when a lawn is watered daily, the roots of the grass will only grow a few inches into the soil because they don't need to dig deep for water. Lawns with shallow roots struggle to stay green during the summer months and will frequently develop heat stress diseases like Ascochyta leaf blight or summer patch.
This Boulder lawn has brown spots are caused by poor sprinkler coverage.
Healthy grass roots should dig about 8-12 inches deep into the soil. The soils sample above shows grass roots that are only digging 3 inches deep.
Grass growing in clumps is a clear sign of drought stress. This area of the lawn is not receiving enough water.
This lawn is suffering from a disease called Dollar Spot Fungus, a.k.a. Ascochyta Leaf Blight. This fungus only develops in lawns with shallow grass roots caused by improper lawn watering.
When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F2 inches of water per week( 2/3 of an inch of water 3 times a week )
When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F1.25 inches per week( 2/3 of an inch of water 2 times a week )
When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F.66 inches of water per week( 2 / 3th of an inch of water 1 time a week )
When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F1.5 inches of water per week(1/2 of an inch of water 3 times a week)
When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F1 inch per week(1/2 of an inch of water 2 times a week)
When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F.5 inches of water per week(1/2 of an inch of water 1 time a week)
When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F1 inch of water per week( 1/3 of an inch of water 3 times a week )
When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F.66 inches per week( 1/3 of an inch of water 2 times a week )
When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F.33 inches of water per week( 1/3 of an inch of water 1 time a week )
Proper lawn watering using the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique is the best way to water a lawn with clay soils because it will help prevent soil compaction. The best way to improve a clay soil is to create an environment that is teaming with microbes, a.k.a. a living soil.
A wonderful organic lawn care products that is designed to bust up clay soils is Humate soil conditioner. Humate is scientifically proven to stimulate microbial activity in the soil. Lawn aeration is also an important lawn care service that will help alleviate soil compaction and break up the heavy clay content of soils.
Grass requires different amounts of water depending on how much sun the lawn receives. For instance, a south facing lawn in full sun will require .6”-.7” of water, a normal facing aspect with partial sun will require .5”-.6” of water, and a north facing aspect or lawns in full shade will require .4”-.5” of water per watering.
Every sprinkler system is different and the output of each sprinkler zone on an irrigation system is different too. The best way to determine how long to water a lawn is to get an accurate measurement of each zone in a sprinkler system. Using a rain gauge or a flat-bottomed flat-sided container is the best way to get an accurate measurement.