Whether you are using an installed irrigation system or a manual (eg. sprinkler or hand watering) irrigation system, there are several points to consider to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant.

  1. How much water? For established grass, once the temperatures get into the 80’s, Cullen recommends 1” of water in each area once a week. A great way to measure this is to take an empty can (soup, vegetable, coffee etc.) and set it within the sprinkler range when watering. Water for about 30min. Take a ruler and measure the amount of water in the can, if it is less than 1”, water for an additional 15-20min. Once you know the amount of time needed to reach 1” of water, then your irrigation procedure is simplified.
  2. How often? There are several different points of view when it comes to the frequency of watering. Frequency depends on how established your lawn is, the type of turf, and disease susceptibility. Generally, you will want to water when you can go out and kneel down on your lawn and you knee comes up dry or just slightly moist.
  3. When should I water? Watering in the middle of the day will cause a lot of the water you are putting down to evaporate. It will also cause the leaves to expand to take up all of the water which can leave them susceptible to burns from the midday sun. Watering over night can lead to disease issues (fungus etc.) due to the fact that the grass will stay moist for several hours. The goal is to have the soil moist, but the leaves should be fairly dry. The best time of day to water is between 5:00 and 9:00 am. This will allow the soil to soak up the water before it evaporates, but the leaves will dry quickly, minimizing disease issues.

So… (1) Water 1” per area.  (2) Water when you can kneel down on your lawn without getting your knee wet (or only slightly moist). (3) Water between 5:00am and 9:00am. For specific recommendations for your lawn, contact your local extension office or lawn care professional.