One of the most common questions we get is, “how much should I be watering?” And it’s a difficult question to answer. Everyone’s lawn is going to be a little different, and the amount of rain we get can make the question tougher to answer. I want to be able to send out an update that gives you exactly how much you should water, but realistically, there’s no one answer for every single lawn. With the understanding that there’s not a One Schedule Fits All solution for your watering needs, I’ve decided to outline a lot of information about watering, so that you can see how intricate watering can be and be better prepared to react to the needs of your turf!
I know it’s long, and that’s why it’s been tough to try and condense it down. Trust me though, it’s worth it!
There are many factors that determine how much and how often you should water your lawn. The air temperature, the amount of natural rainfall, the type of turf, the soil conditions, the amount of sun, the amount of shade, and the age of the turf. These seven factors dictate how often you need to water your lawn. Water is one of the most important ingredients your lawn gets and will determine how lush and green your lawn stays. These factors listed above make it extremely difficult to advise our clients on a proper watering schedule. All of our fertilization plans will need proper watering for optimal results. If you have any questions as always please call our office and we will be happy to advise you.
Fescue is a cool-season turf. That means it likes cool temperatures. Once temperatures reach 85 degrees, fescue will start to decline. Water is crucial to keeping fescue from going dormant during this time. Fescue will start to turn brown when temperatures reach 85 degrees, and the turf doesn’t get proper water. When it turns brown, it is not dead! It can stay in this state for 15-30 days as long as it eventually gets some water. If your turf goes more than 40 days without rainfall or water, and temperatures are over 85 degrees, some of the fescue turf will die.
We do not typically recommend using any irrigation at this time. The water that mother nature provides in our area will hold in the soil and give the roots of your turf the water it needs. Overwatering will only waste your water and money and encourage poor root development which will work against you when temperatures get hot.
The fall seeding time requires the most effort of any time during the year. Your seed will not germinate if you don’t keep the seed and soil damp and moist during the first 15-20 days. You should water as much as it takes to keep your soil damp. Use the schedule below as a starting point. Check the soil moisture throughout the lawn daily and adjust your time and duration accordingly. If you see standing water at any time stop watering until the standing water drains or evaporates and return to the schedule immediately. Don’t worry about watering during the evenings during this time. The new seed needs the water and the fungus pressure is low during this time.
If you have followed this schedule, you should have green, healthy, lush grass. At this time you can let Mother Nature take over for the winter. The root system will develop through the winter and early spring to give your lawn a good chance to survive the summer heat.
Bermuda and zoysia are warm-season grasses that like nighttime temperatures above 60 degrees and daytime temperatures in the mid-80’s. These grasses tolerate heat much better than cool-season grasses like fescue, but they’re not completely drought tolerant. They will thrive with a consistent watering schedule. They will come out of the dormant (yellow grass) period when temperatures get to 70 degrees consistently. The grass usually greens up in April. They will actively grow from April – October. If temperatures stay above 70, the grass can stay green into early November but don’t count on that! Once the first frost hits, they will turn yellow and go into a dormant period until the spring warm up.
The recommendations below are meant to be starting points to help you find out what your lawn needs. You should check the moisture of the soil throughout the lawn daily and weekly. If the soil is too wet reduce the minutes you water for that section of the lawn. If the soil is too dry add more minutes to that section of the lawn. If that doesn’t help, then you can try adding or reducing a day of watering to help reach the proper moisture level.
Bermuda and Zoysia turf grasses are considered established after they have been through one complete 12-month cycle. If more than 50% of your lawn was newly seeded in the past 12 months or your lawn has had new sod in the past 12 months this watering schedule may not work for your lawn. You will need to watch your lawn and water more as your lawn shows signs of stress.
We do not typically recommend using any irrigation at this time. The turf should be dormant, and no irrigation is needed.
Water is vital to the health and looks of your lawn. We want to help make sure you have all the information you need to succeed in having lush, beautiful turf! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office. We’re happy to help.
Check out this page from Lawn Care Academy for more information about deep watering mature turf.
RDS Lawn Care Services