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Watering your lawn

by The Dream Lawn (Mantis)

Unless you live in an area with considerable rainfall, as in the Pacific Northwest, you will probably need to water your lawn during dry spells. Slight browning of a lawn in the heat of a Northern summer and during the Southern winter is not cause for alarm. It just means the lawn is going into a natural dormant state. If you decide to water your lawn in dry seasons to supplement rainfall, you should water deeply and not too frequently.

How do you know if your lawn needs watering? Some signs of a dry lawn are: the grass doesn't spring back up after you walk on it, the lawn has a dull cast, the soil is obviously dry, and the grass blades are wilted and folded or rolled up. When the soil dries out into the root zone, begin to water about once every 7 to 10 days. A sandy soil will require more frequently watering. Most warm-season grasses are more drought-resistant than cool-weather grasses.

Sprinkle your lawn long enough for the ground to absorb a full inch of water (1" of water penetrates average soil to a depth of 6" to 12"). One to two hours of sprinkling in each location should do the job, depending on the type of sprinkler you use and the condition of your soil. Clay soils take longer to absorb water while sandy soils absorb at a faster rate. The sprinkler must run long enough for the water to penetrate through all the dry soil. (To determine the time, place a jar or can in the path of your sprinkler and note how long it takes to accumulate 1" of water.)

Deep watering encourages grass roots to reach farther down and ultimately means a thicker lawn. Light sprinkling causes shallow rooting and fosters fungus diseases and the growth of crabgrass and weeds. Watering in the evening or very early morning is most efficient as there is less evaporation and the roots store up the water for the coming heat of the day.


Copyright © 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission
from The Dream Lawn, © 1996 Mantis, 1028 Street Road, Southampton, PA 18966.



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