It is so easy to get caught up on environmental factors as the primary factor that determines the quality of your lawn, but proper maintenance is just as essential as any other growth factor for your lawn. By proper maintenance, we mean proper watering. But, when is the best time to water the grass, and how do you go about it?
One of the most vital factors in grass seed development is watering. From the very first day that you prepare the soil on your lawn and spread grass seeds over it to the point when the seeds begin to sprout and dense up to create a beautiful lush green lawn, consistent watering makes all the difference. There is a wide array of sprinkler systems and other watering tools to make the maintenance of your lawn as seamless as possible. However, the watering requirements for your lawn should be in line with climate variables in your location, the grass type, and soil type for a higher success rate.
In general, too much water is unhealthy for your lawn, and so is too little water. The general rule of thumb is to ensure that the soil on your yard is moist enough to create the environment for successful seed development without overflooding your lawn or depriving it of water. In this write-up, we will discuss the best time to water grass, significant factors to consider, and mistakes to avoid when watering your lawn.
When is the best time to water grass?
Timing is everything when it comes to proper watering of grass and your lawn at large. That said, the best time to water grass is early in the morning between 6 and 10 a.m. Why so, you may ask. During the early morning hours, the temperatures are much cooler, and the winds are calmer. This significantly allows the water to soak into the soil slowly, and the grass can completely absorb as much water as they need before the sun comes out.
If you water grass at midday, it leads to wasteful evaporation, so the soil and the grass may end up dry towards the end of the day. Watering at night is also not a good idea because water droplets begin to cling to grass during the night. When this happens frequently, your grass becomes vulnerable to lawn diseases. So, if you must water your grass in the evening, then perhaps 4 to 6 p.m. should be a better time to do it.
Aside from that, there are various indicators that your grass needs some water. When you notice that your lawn is starting to have a grayish cast or is losing its green color, that is perhaps one of the best times to water it. When you walk over your lawn, and your footprints do not disappear as they ordinarily would, then your grass needs a lot of water.
What are the water requirements for grass? How much water and how to go about it?
Watering starts the minute you decide to grow grass on your lawn. How much water and how often you should water grass depends on the seed development stage. Let us discuss this further.
First Stage: The Preparation Stage
Once you are done preparing the soil on your lawn for seeding, you need to ensure that the soil is moist enough to invite the appropriate growing conditions. Before you spread the seeds over your lawn, you should evenly water the planting area to a depth of 4 to 6 inches for a better success rate. It is during the preparation stage that you add a thin layer of compost over the soil. Compost simply improves soil structure and allows your soil to retain water and nutrients required for healthy seed development. Thereafter, you need to allow the planting area to dry before spreading the seeds over your lawn.
Second Stage: The Seeding Stage
When sowing the grass seeds, they need frequent watering. At this juncture, keep the top 2 inches of the soil on your lawn moist enough to accelerate germination, but it should never be too wet. As time goes by, feel the soil to see whether it is moist or dry. When you start to notice that the soil is becoming dry, water your lawn again. Remember, if your soil gets too dry, the germination process stops almost immediately, and when you water too much that the water pools on the soil’s surface, the grass dies immediately.
Third Stage: Caring through Seed Development
As the grass seeds slowly germinate and begin to develop roots, they only become more established when you water them well. At this point, water your lawn about two to three times daily for about 5-6 minutes each to ensure that the soil can grasp as much water as possible. Check the grass seeds regularly, and every time you feel the soil and notice that it is dry, water it lightly. When it goes too hot outside, your grass needs a lot more water, so you may have to double the amount you give to your grass. When doing this, look out for the shady patches of your lawn because those need slightly less water than the parts that are directly exposed to the sun.
Fourth Stage: Watering once the grass seeds are fully established
Once your grass seeds are fully established, the water requirements become even less. At this time, about an inch of water per week in two to three sessions should suffice. This should be enough to let the roots grow deeper into the ground. Remember to water your lawn during morning hours between 6 and 10 a.m. or early evening hours between 4 and 6 p.m.. Doing this gives you enough room to prevent evaporation during the day and significantly eliminate the risk of fungal disease on your lawn. ensure to use a good quality sprinkler for better results.
What problems should you avoid when watering grass?
When watering your grass, some of the mistakes you should avoid are;
- Under-watering new grass seeds because it prevents the germinating process and could kill growing seedlings on your lawn.
- Overwatering your lawn to a point that you can see puddles on the surface. More often than not, we assume that too much water causes faster growth on our lawns, but that isn’t always the case. Too much water makes grass seed float across different parts of your lawn, hence the uneven distribution of grass. With time, the grass begins to choke due to no oxygen, and you are left with no grass on your lawn.
- Using clogged sprinklers to water your lawn that in turn results in uneven watering and seed development. Try to do the necessary corrections to your sprinkler systems before spreading grass seeds on your lawn to prevent such instances.
- Over-watering shaded areas and under-watering sunny areas on your lawn that tampers with the even growth of grass on your lawn. If anything, shady areas require less water, and areas exposed to the sun need more water. In this case, cyclic watering may save you the hassle.
- Leaving your soil soggy and spongy after watering, which is a clear indicator of over-watering. Some soils, such as clay or adobe soil take too long to dry out, so you need to use as little water as possible for better results.
- Too much water evaporating off your lawn and excessive seed movement, especially if your lawn is on sloping ground. In this case, applying a thin layer of mulch over the grass seed should help reduce evaporation and seed movement as well.
What should you consider when watering different grass types?
Keep the following tips in mind when watering the grass on your lawn;
- Some cool-season grass types, such as tall fescue have a high drought tolerance due to their deep root system so they may survive through hot seasons with a little watering. However, other cool-season grasses such as fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass go dormant the minute they cannot get enough water. Even so, they revive once they get access to enough water or rainfall.
- Warm-season grasses such as St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, and Bermuda grass types have a superior heat and drought tolerance. They generally require less water than cool-season grasses. While they require lots of water in conditions of low humidity, drought, and high-temperature conditions, growing them over clay soil allows them to survive longer. However, if you grow them on sandy soil you need to water them up to 4 times a day if you want them to survive.
Watering new grass seeds over a new lawn or when overseeding is quite the task, but the long-term benefits of proper watering are worth the hassle. Always ensure that you water your grass right the first time, or else you will have to start the sowing process from scratch. Lastly, water your grass in the morning for better results and always ensure to keep the soil hydrated regularly.