Improper watering is a major cause of lawn issues. Too little water leads to shriveled, brown grass, while too much can result in yellowing foliage, a weak root system, and fungus issues. Too much water is the problem in most residential lawns, since most lawn grasses can more easily recover from a dry period than from fungal or root issues. The following three tips can help ensure you water your lawn correctly:
Tip #1: Make sure the water can actually reach the roots
Too often, water sits on the soil surface and then evaporates, never actually reaching the roots of your grass. This is because of either a heavy layer of thatch or compacted soil. If the thatch layer, which is the dead organic matter on top the soil, is deeper than 1/2 inch, then it is time to use a dethatching rake to remove it. It's also a good idea to have the lawn aerated each year. Aeration removes plugs of soil, which loosens up the ground so moisture can actually penetrate down to the roots. You can aerate at any time from spring to fall.
Tip #2: Take precise measurements
Measuring the amount of water put out by your sprinkler system can help ensure that your lawn is getting just enough water. There is a simple way to do this. Collect several flat, wide cans, such as tuna cans, and place them at various spots around the yard on a relatively non-windy day. Run the sprinklers for 10 minutes, and then measure the depth of the water in each can. It should be similar, unless one of the sprinklers isn't functioning correctly. If there is 1/2 inch of water in the can, then your system provides 1/2 inch of water for every 10 minutes of operation, or 1 inch every 20 minutes. You can use this number to create a watering plan.
Tip #3: Learn to water deeply
Water needs vary depending on your soil type and grass variety, but most lawn grasses generally need 3 inches of water weekly. In a moist climate or during cold, damp weather, once weekly watering to provide about 1 inch of moisture is usually sufficient. In the middle of summer, when it is hot and dry, you may need to water three or four times a week, providing 1 inch of water each time. Watering daily and providing less than 1 inch of water is almost always a mistake, since this encourages a shallow root system.
For more help, consult with a lawn care service like A Greener Season Landscaping.