You should only water your lawn when the grass needs it. This is the best way to keep it healthy. When it does need to be watered, you should wet the soil 6 inches through the soil. After the initial watering, you should wait until the lawn begins showing signs of stress, such as folded blades, a dull color, and if footprints remain when someone walks on the lawn. Depending on the weather, you should only need to water the lawn every 5 to 10 days.
If you are unsure how log to water your lawn, you should follow the above tips.
1. Set up 5 or 6 open, empty tuna or cat food cans around the lawn.
2. Turn on your sprinklers for 30 minutes.
3. After 30 minutes, measure the amount of water in each can with a ruler. Record your findings.
4. Calculate the average depths of the water in the cans. To do this, add the total of all of the cans, and then divide it by 5.
5. Next, you want to see how deep the water went into the soil. To do this push a probe into the ground. If the soil is wet, it will push through the ground easily. When you hit the dry soil, it will be more difficult to push.
6. When you have figured out how much water went into the soil in 20 minutes, you need to figure out how much water you need to wet the soil to get down 6 inches into the soil. An example of how to do this would be it the sprinklers sprayed 0.5 inches of water in 30 minutes in the cans and it wet the soil to a depth of 3 inches, you would need to apply 1 inch of water to get the soil wet to a depth of 6 inches. You would need to let the sprinkler run for 1 hour to accomplish your goal.
If you have run-off when you are watering your lawn, it can waste a great deal of water. Not only are you wasting an important resource, it can also be costly when you waste water. There are two factors that create runoff. One is the type of soil and the other is the rate that the sprinkler system applies water to the grass. You should never water the lawn faster than it can absorb the water. There are a few things that you should do to prevent runoff.
1. If you are watering the lawn, and it starts running into the street or gutters, make a note of how long it took for this to occur. This is the maximum amount of time that you should water the lawn.
2. When you stop watering, let the surface of the soil dry. This should take 30 minutes to an hour.
3. Start watering again and continue for the amount of the that you determined when the runoff started. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, change the time to something shorter.
4. Continue to do this until enough water has soaked into the lawn so that it is 6 inches deep.
Helpful hint: If you have a newer style irrigation system, you can control it to water the lawn several times a day. This way, you can program the sprinkler to prevent run off.