Growing up in Brisbane I was held responsible for keeping the grass cut. It seemed that every single weekend throughout the spring and summer months I spent a few hours outside getting hot and sticky mowing that lawn. It didn’t have to rain. Back there we couldn’t keep the grass from growing! In fact, many of us (particularly those of us who spent our free time mowing ) would have spent our own money to kill every blade of grass we saw and never deal with it again.
When I moved out west to the sun and DRY it came as a total shock to see people intentionally watering their yards. I mean, people actually WANTED their grass to live? Clearly these desert dwellers had no real concept of mowing, or so I assumed. I understood so well, in fact, that I became one of those crazy people standing in the yard watering her grass!
Unfortunately, having to water the grass and knowing HOW and WHEN to water it completely separate issues. Yes, for those who live in wetter climates where mother nature tends to the lawn, there are rules that we drier-climate folks should follow. These rules not only help conserve our precious natural resources (water) but they also help ensure that our lawns get the proper amount to drink when it is most needed.
Without further ado, here are the rules:
Watering should only be done first thing in the morning. “First thing” means before the sun starts heating us up. By watering early, you not only give the grass a healthy drink to help it survive the day in the heat; you also provide less opportunity for the water to evaporate as a result of the heat.
If you’re thinking of watering at night to be tricky, don’t. Watering at night is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The absence of the sun means the grass is more likely to sit in wet soil overnight, providing plenty of opportunity for various fungus and molds to develop.
Watering should only penetrate roughly 1 inch into the ground. Anything more than that is a waste. Grass has very shallow roots and therefore can’t access any resources below the 1 inch mark. Slow, light watering is most effective. Avoid using such a heavy flow that the water actually runs off into unwanted places, i.e. the driveway or the street.
Grass does NOT need to be watered daily. Typically every second or third day will suffice. Here’s how to test whether or not your lawn needs a drink: walk across the grass with your shoes on. If you can see where your footprints are, your grass is thirsty and you should water appropriately.
That’s it! All you really need to know about watering the lawn. Pretty simple, eh?