Watering Methods and Considerations for a Healthy Lawn

person watering lawn with hose

Everyone wants a healthy, thriving lawn, and the first step is ensuring you’re providing your turf with the right nutrients to fight against diseases, survive an insect infestation, and hold up to extreme weather. And by “the right nutrients,” we’re referring to water. Yes, one of our most vital resources that keeps plants, animals, and humans alive.

You may have noticed that it’s getting dryer in the Gettysburg community, which means you must change your watering routine (if you have one) or establish a watering regimen if you don’t.

Keep reading and learn all our trade secrets to the proper watering methods so you can have a healthy lawn year-round.

Are You Watering Your Lawn Properly?

This question is pretty relative, as you can’t always know what you’re doing right until you make a few mistakes. Fortunately, we’ve made some of the most critical watering mistakes in the past, but we’ve learned from them and have a few tips and tricks to help you avoid them altogether. But first, let’s actually answer the question, “Are you watering your lawn properly?”

And to answer that question, you need to consider the type of grass you have. There are basic watering methods, but those won’t help your lawn flourish through droughts or other undesirable conditions. To get a fortified lawn, we need to look at specific grass types and watering methods that work best for every single one—well, at least the most common ones found in Gettysburg.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass – Gettysburg is currently in a season of high heat and low rainfall. Kentucky Bluegrass requires at least an inch of water per week in this kind of climate.
  • Perennial Ryegrass – We’re not in a drought, per se, but our community is definitely in the dry seasons going into August, so owners of Perennial Ryegrass need to consider a watering schedule of 1 to 1.5 inches of water every two weeks.
  • Italian Ryegrass – Most homeowners don’t typically grow Italian Ryegrass as turf because it’s a bunchgrass, meaning it grows in clumps. You’ll likely find it in flower or garden beds as a cool-season plant. Still, Italian Ryegrass requires 1 to 1.25 inches of water per week between June and August.
  • Fine Fescue – Without regular rainfall, Fine Fescue will require supplemental irrigation methods, which means 1 inch of watering should occur once a week to encourage growth and a strong root system.

Perhaps you don’t have any of the grass types above. In that case, our Gettysburg lawn care professionals are happy to assess your grass, help you identify its type, and design a lawn maintenance plan and grass treatments just for you.

Watering Considerations You May Have Overlooked

Knowing how much water to provide your trees, grass, and other foliage is important. However, you may have overlooked a few aspects that could take your lawn care routine to the next level.

Consider Your Plants

You can’t overlook plants and trees when you’re watering your lawn. Often, plants require roughly the same amount of water in the same dry conditions.

For watering plants, you’ll want to ensure:

  • Water reaches the roots and doesn’t sit on leaves or fungus, and disease could grow
  • The soil is moist, at least 6 inches deep every time you water
  • To check soil moisture weekly between waterings to guarantee the soil stays damp

Consider the Type of Soil

Not only does your irrigation method and frequency depend on the type of grass and plants you have, but also the soil they’re planted in.

Clay Soil

Clay soil is known to become compacted easily because of its fine texture. It’s very slippery when wet and hard when dry, but it holds a large capacity of water. When watering clay-based soil, you’ll want to apply moisture slowly over longer periods because of its tendency for water run-off. Once-a-week waterings are sufficient for this soil type to thrive.

Sandy Soil

With large particles, sand-based soil is easier to prepare for plantings as it’s very pliable and tenable after irrigation. This soil type absorbs water and retains water better than clay soil, so you should apply water quickly and in shorter periods. Watering too frequently could result in water moving past plants and completely missing root systems. To be safe, start by watering 0.5 inches twice a week to see how your plants fare and adjust accordingly.

Silty Soil

Silty soil’s particles are smaller than sand but larger than clay, giving you a nice middle ground. Pure silt isn’t usually found in home gardens, but a silt-loam soil mixture doesn’t require frequent watering. While you may apply the same amount of water as with sandy soil, you won’t need to water as often. If you’re watering clay soil once a week (which we recommend), you’ll want to water silt soil every other week with an inch of moisture.

Loam Soil

Loam soil is a beautiful, healthy mixture of clay, sand, and silt, and it retains moisture well, even in drier conditions. Irrigating loam weekly and applying at least 1 inch of water will ensure it stays damp and helps your plants and lawn prosper.

Consider the Timing

A common mistake many people make is watering in the middle of the day because the grass looks dry and brittle. We understand you want to move quickly and give your lawn some relief, but you have to be strategic about irrigation. So, when is the best time to water your lawn? Let’s discuss watering in the morning, afternoon, and evening to figure out which time is best.

  • Watering in the morning (before 10 a.m.) – Watering in the morning, preferably before 10 a.m., gives your grass a chance to absorb moisture before evaporation kicks in. However, if you water closer to that 10 a.m. cut-off, it may get hotter sooner, causing your water to evaporate before it can reach the root system.
  • Watering in the afternoon (after 10 a.m.) – Afternoon watering in the summer can prove very ineffective for your lawn because evaporation happens very quickly, and the soil doesn’t have much time to absorb the water.
  • Watering in the evening (after 7:30 p.m.) – If you’ve missed your morning water window, irrigating in the evening can be the next best watering time. However, evaporation slows down, causing water to sit on grass blades overnight and jumpstart disease growth.

Overwatering Can & Does Happen

Watering is vital but overdoing it can be just as detrimental to your lawn and plants as not watering at all. There are various DIY strategies to help you determine if you’re providing too much water or not enough.

How Do I Know I’m Overwatering?

Overwatering can be the nail in the coffin for your lawn and plants if you’re not careful. It’s extremely easy to overwater when you’re just winging it, not considering water amounts or watering frequency, or you have a drainage issue.

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just water.” Too much water can impede your lawn and plant’s ability to breathe, slowly suffocating them. Roots allow plants to take in oxygen, and overwatering keeps roots from taking in and releasing necessary gases.

Ways to tell if you’re overwatering include:

  • A pest invasion is common with too much water in flower beds and lawns
  • Brown/yellow seedlings occur with overwatering and underwatering
  • Green soil, which indicates algae growth (this isn’t good)

Suppose you’re watering indiscriminately or don’t have proper drainage; you could get the desired results for a while, but lawn care involves adjustments to accommodate your lawn, not just what’s convenient for you or what’s worked previously.

What Can I Do If I’ve Overwatered My Lawn?

The first thing you should do is stop watering. Giving your lawn and plants a break from watering for at least a week may help correct the problem without much intervention on your part. If lack of water hasn’t resulted in your plants and lawn perking up, you’ll want to check your soil’s moisture depth and see how far the water has traveled into the soil. Give your lawn a two-week watering hiatus if you have more than 6 inches of moisture depth.

One of the most important ways to save your lawn after overwatering is aeration and dethatching. Our Gettysburg lawn care professionals can aerate your lawn and remove thatches of grass to promote root growth and remove compacted soil.

Need Watering Assistance? The Grounds Guys of Gettysburg is Here for You!

Regardless of anything else, proper watering involves consistency. However, if you’re too busy for lawn care or are unsure how to design a lawn maintenance routine, our team at The Grounds Guys of Gettysburg would love to be your local go-to lawn care experts for watering, seasonal clean-up, hardscape installation, and more.

Call us for immediate assistance or request a free estimate today!