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Using Water Wisely

A healthy lawn needs water. How much you water and when you water can have an effect (positive or negative) on your lawn.

Water is essential!

  • Without water, grass can’t grow.
  • Most perennial grasses will go dormant (turn brown) during dry spells. Brown grass is still very much alive and can survive for weeks until moisture returns.
  • However, allowing grass to brown will provide an opportunity for weeds to take root.

How much water do I need?

  • Lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week during the growing season (May to October).
  • Buy a rain gauge – they are inexpensive and are available at local hardware stores.
  • Monitor rainfall and only apply what is needed to equal 1 to 1.5 inches of water.
  • Watering too much wastes time and money and creates an insufficient root structure.

How often should I water?

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  • Only once or twice a week (depending on the rain).
  • If you water twice a week, be sure to only apply half of the lawn’s weekly needs (0.5 to 0.75 inches at each watering).

Water deeply, not quickly.

  • If you’ve been mowing high, then your lawn’s root system has grown deep and strong.
  • Allowing water to seep into the ground will help the grass stay healthy.

When should I water?

  • Between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. is ideal.
  • The afternoon is too hot and sunny, most of the water will evaporate.
  • Watering at night increases the risk of fungal diseases

Tip: Determine your sprinkler output by placing jars on the lawn and timing how long it takes for them to fill with an inch of water.

Credit: Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District.
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