Grass is particular about hydration, which is why incorrect watering practices may do a lot more damage than you think!
If your watering schedule is somewhat haphazard (more random than routine), then you may be putting your grass and other plantings at risk. Watering by hand or with hose attachments greatly decreases the accuracy of your watering efforts – as well as wasting a good deal of water, time, and money. Check out the most common watering mistakes made by homeowners:
When lawns don’t receive the proper amount of water, they begin to turn brown and crisp – a clear sign your grass is dying. But underwatered lawns don’t always make their ill health so obvious. A lawn can sometimes remain fairly green and appear healthy, but the real damage is happening out of sight, down in the roots. Underwatered grass isn’t able to grow strong root systems, leaving your lawn vulnerable to severe damage from changes in weather or even light foot traffic.
Overwatering is the more common problem people face when watering their grass by hand or with sprinkler hose attachments. Over-saturating your grass causes a whole range of problems.
One problem is your grass becoming accustomed to an overabundance of water – which leads to very shallow root systems (as the grass doesn’t think it needs to root deeper for moisture) to combat it. When the high temps of summer hit, shallow root systems are not long enough to absorb enough water to keep grass alive through hot dry conditions. A few rainless weeks combined with the hot summer sun and you may be left with a dead lawn in no time at all.
Overwatering also may lead to major erosion issues. As water pools up faster than the soil can absorb it, the water becomes runoff, taking with it your grass’ nutrients and any fertilizer you’ve put down to feed it. Plus, when there’s too much water on your property, you risk drainage issues, which if left untreated can lead to even costlier problems, like foundation damage.
It’s also important that your grass not always be wet. It needs to be able to dry out. Prolonged high moisture levels make your lawn susceptible to fungal diseases, which can not only destroy your entire lawn but also can cause children or pets playing on the grass to get sick.
Watering at Incorrect Times
The time you water your grass also plays a major role in how well the water is absorbed. Watering needs to be done early in the day, ideally before 8 am. When you water during the middle of the day, especially on hot days, water can evaporate before it has a chance to reach the roots of your grass. Watering in the evening or after the sun sets has the opposite effect – water evaporates too slowly and grass remains wet longer, once again opening the door for fungal diseases.
When watering early in the morning, your grass has the perfect amount of time to absorb as much as it needs and the rising sun has time to evaporate excess water. During the summer, grass is also more resilient against heat if it has been properly hydrated before the sun comes out.
Chances are if you aren’t watering your lawn by hand or with an automatic underground sprinkler system, you rely on a “handy” sprinkler attachment (or two) for your hose to help you “water better” without having to stand outside and spray the lawn by hand. Many sprinklers can wind up doing more harm than good as they typically provide poor lawn coverage.
Portable sprinklers are rarely able to water an entire lawn in one sitting, meaning you must remember every time you set the sprinkler in an area that you’ll need to move it at specific intervals to different zones of your property in order to irrigate all areas of the property. Portable sprinkler watering is nearly a 100% guarantee that some areas of your lawn will receive too much water while other spots receive next to none.
The delivery method also plays a major role in your watering coverage, as well. How is the water spraying out of these attachments? Big drops falling too close to wear the sprinkler is sitting? A light mist that blows away in the wind, never actually landing on your grass? The unpredictable nature of portable sprinklers leads to uneven coverage – meaning you may find yourself combatting a variety of irrigation-related problems throughout your lawn – for example, patchy and brown places in one area and soaking wet and moldy areas elsewhere.
Keep in mind that the way in which grass is watered is not the same way shrubs and other plantings should be watered. For example, many plants require watering at only the base. When water is primarily hitting leaves, water has a much harder time actually making it to the plant’s root system.
Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Hydration!
With so many watering dos and don’ts, manually watering your lawn can begin to feel more and more like a full-time job. Beyond requiring a fair amount of your time, water is also wasted – which can drive the water bill sky-high each month.
With an automated underground irrigation system, you can ensure each area of your lawn is getting the exact amount of hydration needed. Advanced technology, industry-leading components, and smart controllers turn your automated sprinklers into a high-efficiency system that no longer squanders your time, water, and money. The irrigation experts at Heinen Landscape and Irrigation know what it takes to create effective watering systems and they’re ready to help design, install, and maintain a custom-built system for your property.
If you’re ready to learn more about automated sprinkler systems, why not send the Heinen team an online message and find out how a Heinen-designed irrigation system can help? Or call Debbie at Heinen at (913) 362-8439 for a no-obligation consultation with one of Heinen’s irrigation pros!