The longer days and the warmer temperatures in South East Queensland signal that we all need to be paying closer attention to the watering needs of our lawns.
The Daleys Turf team has put together their top tips for summer watering:
Only Water When Your Lawn Needs It.
Overwatering can contribute to the development of fungi and disease and therefore should be avoided! The amount of water your lawn requires will depend on the variety of the grass and the environmental factors such as temperatures, the humidity and the wind. As a general rule you should aim for 2.5 cms of water across the entire lawn each week. If your lawn takes on a blue-grey tinge or the outer blades of the lawn plants are curling or wilting, more watering is required. Another indicator is whether or not your lawn ‘bounces back’ when walked on. If not and 30-50% of your lawn is like this, then you should water.
Water Deeply and Less Frequently.
Frequent and shallow watering encourages weed germination and shallow root growth, allowing the lawn to become susceptible to drought and disease. Aim for deeper and less frequent watering to encourage a deeper and stronger root system. Just ensure that when you water that you penetrate right down to the root zone.
How deep is the root zone in your lawn? You can determine the depth of the root zone by digging a hole and seeing how far down the roots go.
Determine the Length of Watering.
Now that you know how far down you need the water to penetrate, you need to determine how much watering it will take to achieve this depth. Turn the hose or sprinkler on for 15mins and then wait for 18-24 hours to see how far the water has reached. Dig a hole, use a probe or push a shovel into the lawn and use as a lever to separate the lawn and look for moisture. You can now use this approximation during the watering lengths. For example; if the soil is damp down to 10cms but your root zone reaches a depth of 20cms, then you will need to water for 30mins.
As a general guide adding 2.5cms of water to your lawn will reach the following depths:
- Sandy soils – 30cms.
- Loamy soils – 15-20cms.
- Clay soils – 10cms.
The best time to water is early in the morning, between 4 – 9am whilst the air is still cool. Avoid watering when it is hot, dry or windy as the water will evaporate and not reach the lawn plants.
Avoid Hot Water.
If your hose is left out in the sun it will heat the water inside through solar energy and make it too hot and enough to scald the lawn. Water whilst the water is still cold or if unavoidable, run the hose until the hot water has been flushed out before applying to the lawn.
Water running off your lawn is just a waste. If the run off starts before you have given the lawn a deep watering, stop for about 15-20mins to allow the water to absorb and then continue. Run off can be caused by excessive thatch, so you may need to remove this if the run off is a constant issue and is stopping water reaching the root system.
Sprinkler timers are a fantastic time saver, however they will run regardless of the current weather conditions. Watering during rainfall is not only redundant but can lead to overwatering problems. Install a rain sensor – this will automatically turn off the sprinkler and timer when it rains. You can also utilise a rain gauge – this will show you how much your lawn has naturally received allowing you to just top up as required.
If your local area is expecting rain and your soil is particularly dry, water to moisten and aid the absorption of the coming rain. Remember – don’t water just out of habit, water only when your lawn needs it.