How much water is
need an average of about 2 inches of water weekly to carry
on the life cycle.
Some grasses will
survive on 1 inch.
Depending upon where you live nature
sometimes takes care of this situation and grass should be watered
only when it begins wilt, pale in color or have no resiliency. This
is during a "normal" weather. On days of extreme heat more
water is lost through evaporation than plants can handle and become
wilted from the stress of the heat. Since the blades can absorb some
water it can be beneficial to mist the grass (for a short period)
through the hottest time and allow it to regain its integrity until
night time and dew revive the grass.
Remember that wind plays an important
part in the drying out of the lawn and hot, windy climates will
evaporate just as quickly. Without water plants either die or go
into dormancy until the next season or when enough water is supplied
and this process will weakens the grass and retards growth.
NON-IRRIGATED Turf Maintenance
In general for normal growth functions grasses need
.2 (2/10 of an inch) of water per day for normal growth.
Over 90% of the water grasses uses returns to the atmosphere through
transpiration of the leaf surface cells. A general rule of
thumb often suggested by experts is 1" per week. In sandy
soils it is best to split this into 2 applications of 1/2 inch each.
Sandy soils require water more often
than do soils of a loam or clay soil as they hold (retain) less.
Also soils with salt (high levels) restrict the availability of
water to grass plants. Heavier soils must also be watered
slower so that the water infiltrates the soil. Also... grasses
growing near (or under) trees and by shrubbery require more water as
the trees/shrubs compete.
Species type also effects water
requirements. Cool season grasses are more susceptible
to moisture stress than are the warm season grasses. The peak use
rate for warm season grasses is in the range of .3 to .35 inches a
day. While warm season grasses during peak use will only
need about .25 inches per day.
DROUGHT TOLERANCE OF GRASSES -
Keep in mind this does not mean the grass doesn't need water or do
better with less water, just that it can survive with less
water in fair to good condition.
- High Drought tolerance: (Perform
best with least water):
Bermudagrass, Buffalograss, Zoysiagrass, Bahiagrass,
Wheatgrasses, Fescues; especially Red Fescue.
- Medium Drought tolerance:
Kentucky Bluegrass, Canada Bluegrass, Redtop, Colonial Bents,
Ryegrasses, St.Augustine and Centipede grass.
- Low Drought tolerance:
Creeping Bents, Rough & Annual Bluegrass, Carpetgrass
- These grasses like lots of water.
You should adjust both your
irrigation practice and other management practices such as proper
mowing, thatch control and fertilization so as to encourage deeper
root growth of your grass. Grasses with deep root systems
are less adversely affected by drought conditions. Grasses
that have not been properly managed will often experience more
problems with disease and insects during and after drought
Design any irrigation system
you install based on the net evaporation rate that your particular
location has. This data can be obtained from the local
weather service. Your system should be designed to replace that
WHEN TO WATER?
- First this is a factor of your
particular soil type. Learn what soil you have
so you can adjust your watering rate appropriately.
- Best time to water is when
your grass shows signs of needing it! This is when
it starts to wilt, most noticeable by the fact the grasses
leaves curl and/or your foot prints remain where you
walked. This means the grass is slightly stressed
and is a good time to start watering. This encourages the
deeper rooting that a healthy lawn has. Remember to
water down to the 6-8 inch level based on your soil type.
- Be sure and don't apply water
faster than your soil can "drink" it.
All soils absorb water at different rates. Know what
your soils rate is before turning on the sprinkler.
- QUANTIY OF WATER
QUANTITY OF WATER APPLIED
DEPENDS ON SEVERAL FACTORS:
- Current amount of water in the
- Your soils water retention
- Percolation and filtration rates
(infiltration) for your particular soil vs water
You should normally water to
wet a minimum of 6-8 inches soil depth. This is where
the majority of your lawn grasses roots reside. Wetting
at least this depth encourages deeper root growth and a better
turf grass. You should try and make the moisture
meet. This means applying enough water so that the
subsurface moisture meets the surface applied moisture.
A soil probe can be used to determine when this happens.
- Too much water?
BUT DON'T OVER WATER (Yep,
its a difficult balance act you play here. Much like
getting your kids to drink the right amounts of water and
Too much water is also bad,
resulting in reduced root and shoot growth along with an
overall reduction in the quality of your turfgrass. Too
frequent irrigation is also NOT desirable, having similar
effects to the grass plant as excessive watering.
Water logged soils have a
reduced amount of oxygen present in the soil. This
results in damaging the growth of the turfgrass root system
and the overall quality of the grass. Different grasses
react differently to the water saturation. Red Fescue
does not do very well in moist soils, while Bentgrasses and
rough Bluegrasses like high soil moisture levels.
Read about water FREQUENCY
for more about infiltration and application rates.
- IRRIGATING NEW LAWNS
New lawns are an EXCEPTION to the rule of
frequency and amount of water applied. Often daily, semi daily
or every other day is required for newly seeded or sodded
areas depending on the soil. Morning and afternoon water
applications may be required in many locations for seeded
grasses during the first 2-8 weeks after planting (depending
on species planted.)
Lawns: Choices | States
| Diseases | Fertilizers | Irrigation | Mowing
| Pests | Weeds
a beautiful tomorrow!®