How To Water Your Lawn


At the end of the summer last year, we found mole holes all around our yard.

I couldn’t imagine why moles would all of a sudden show up to our yard.

After some research, I found out that I wasn’t watering our lawn appropriately.

Water your lawn appropriately includes using the correct sprinklers, not overwatering the lawn, watering your lawn at the right time of the day, getting a timer to water the lawn, and more.

Read on my find some common myths about watering your lawn.

Why you should know the correct way to water your lawn

Some people think that you can just go outside and set your lawn timer for whatever amount you want and everything is going to be just fine.

In some cases, you might be able to guess correctly the amount of time to water and the number of times to water, but otherwise, you could be causing harm to your lawn.

First, you might just be inviting moles into your yard.

The favorite yard for a mole is an extremely wet yard.

Moles will go for the easiest dirt to burrow through.

And a wet yard will be really easy to dig, just as any construction worker or someone who has tried to install posts in their yard.

In our first home, there were rocks everywhere, so if you wet your yard down pretty well before digging, you could get around the rocks pretty easily and keep going down.

Also, wet dirt will invite different insects into your yard.

And moles love a place with lots of insects.

Last year, I found I was watering the yard too much and for too long.

And then I found mole burrows all over our yard.

So, it is important to keep the moles away.

If you don’t water your lawn enough, the grass is going to die.

You might think a little bit of water now and again is going to be fine for your lawn, but you need to make sure you are watering it enough.

If you don’t, you will begin to see brown patches in your lawn and then finally the grass will die completely.

And then you will have to start all over on your lawn.

Next, watering your lawn for too long is going to invite fungus.

Unless you want a bunch of mushrooms growing around your lawn (which most people don’t), then don’t water your lawn too much.

Other signs of overwatering include weed growth, discoloration (yellow or light green), runoff (extra water running off your lawn), and puddles of water in your lawn.

Signs of underwatering include: dry soil, dry grass, and leaf blight (top of the grass will be withered and bottom will look healthy).

How long to water your grass

How long to water your grass really depends on a few factors.

Your grass will need anywhere between 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches of water each week, depending on the type of grass.

It also depends on how much water your sprinkler releases during its rotation.

And each sprinkler will probably release the water in different amounts.

For example, sprinklers above the ground are more likely to get the water it released caught in the wind and carried further away than originally planned.

While sprinklers that come up from the ground have their water more concentrated.

There are a few ways you can figure out how much water your grass is getting.

The can method

This is called the can method, but you can really use any type of container, as long as it isn’t too deep.

The common option here is to use either a tuna can or a chicken can.

Take that can and empty it out.

Once it is emptied (hopefully you ate what was inside the can), take it outside and place it in the area where you are about to water your lawn.

When the can has been placed, then you can turn on the sprinklers.

Give the sprinklers about 15 minutes and then turn them off.

Go to the can and measure how deep the water is.

If the water in the can is around 2 inches, then 15 minutes is about the amount of time you are going to water your lawn.

If the water is still much lower than 2 inches, then run the sprinklers another 15 minutes and then check the can again.

Continue doing this until you have gotten the 2 inches of water in your can.

Then you know the amount of time you need to water your lawn.

Kind in mind that this works differently for each type of sprinkler that you have.

If you have one set of sprinklers for the front yard and then another set for your backyard, you will have to do the can test for both and the front AND the back yard.

The screwdriver method

Water needs to go into the soil about 6 inches for the grass to really get a deep soak.

Otherwise, the roots won’t be able to go into the ground as much as they should.

And so you can use this to your advantage when measuring how much you should water your lawn.

So, start watering your lawn.

Then, find a screwdriver and mark 6 inches down from the end.

Go outside and turn off the sprinkler after about 15 minutes.

Drive the screwdriver into the ground where you are watering the lawn.

Then see how far the screwdriver goes into the ground easily.

If it goes 6 inches into the ground (you can see by the marking on the screwdriver), then you are done and the 15 minutes is the amount of time you need to water.

If not, then water another 15 minutes and then check again.

Keep going until the screwdriver goes 6 inches into the ground easily and then you know how long you need to water.

When to water your lawn

One of the common myths is that you should water your lawn right before the sun sets.

While this may seem like a good idea (especially in the summer season when the heat is going to be extremely hot), it could actually cause harm to your grass.

Watering the lawn right before the sun sets doesn’t give the grass enough time to dry before it gets cold at night.

The grass will spend all night wet, which could cause frost and death.

The wet and dark conditions are also a breeding ground for diseases.

Watering your lawn in the middle of the day is also not the ideal time either.

The heat of the day will not allow the grass to get as much of the moisture that it needs.

Most of the water will evaporate before the grass can even get any benefit from it.

So, the only option left is to water the lawn in the morning before the sun is fully up.

Watering the lawn first thing in the morning gives the grass enough time to dry out during the day before the sun sets.

What sprinklers to use

As mentioned previously, the kind of sprinklers you use makes quite a difference.

The taller sprinklers, while they may cause the water to go farther across your lawn, it could also lead to the water not being spread as easily.

To get the water to go farther across the lawn, the sprinklers have to send the water higher into the air.

If you live in a place like we do, we get times when the wind blows pretty hard.

And if we have the sprinklers going at the same time the wind is blowing hard, the water will spread pretty unevenly.

So in that case, you are better off with the sprinklers that are closer to the ground.

Closer to the ground will keep the water from being susceptible to the wind, for a more even spray.

On the flip side, if you have a lot of lawn to cover, you might consider a sprinkler that goes higher into the air.

While the taller sprinklers are more likely to get the water affected by the wind, they will cover more area.

In our case, we could need to manage at least 4 low sprinklers to cover our whole backyard or 2 tall sprinklers to manage the same area.

Use timers

It might be tempting to save money on timers by doing the job manually each time.

But who wants to wake up before the sun to start watering their lawns.

Which timer is going to depend on how many sprinklers you have to service during your water times.

We have a large back yard, so we have to have quite a few sprinkler ports on the timer.

So we need something like this 4 zone timer.

If you have a smaller lawn and only need 1 zone, then this 1 zone timer should be enough.

The timers will make sure the lawn is being watered more evenly each time.

It will also make sure that it gets watered for the same amount of time each time as well.

Also, check your timers on a regular basis to make sure the batteries haven’t run out or that your kids haven’t been playing with the timing of the watering.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked on our timers to see that the kids have turned off the timers completely.

Summary

Grass can be very delicate at times.

If you don’t water it enough, then the grass will die.

If you water the grass too much, you might end up with moles, fungus or bugs on your lawn.

Make sure you are giving it just the right amount of water, water it at the right time during the day, invest in some timers, and use the correct sprinklers for your area.

And then watch as your grass grows successfully year after year.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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