Watering guidelines for turf

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Watering Guidelines

  • Water your turf at least 1 – 1.5″ per week.

Water once per week, measured with a rain gauge, to encourage deep root systems. Watering should moisten the soil to a depth of 4″ to 6″, though in our clay it is difficult to get water to that depth.  During excessively hot and dry conditions a second watering may be necessary to counter evaporation.  If the temperatures move above 95 degrees then water twice per week. This second watering should be just like the first.  You want a full 1″ delivered in a single application.  (We lose 1″ per week of moisture to evaporation when the temperature is above 95 degrees.)

Irrigation check list:

  • Check individual zones to be sure they are actually running.
  • Check to be sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted correctly so that you don’t have sprinkler overthrow and the water is actually getting to the target plants or turf. (Be sure the irrigation heads are properly feathered so the entire area beneath the water arc receives water. Also, look for heads that are blocked by shrubs or other obstacles.)
  • Be sure you have your time duration set correctly.
  • Check your irrigation clock to be sure it is actually working and EACH zone comes on.
  • Large areas of browned, burned looking turf are visual indicators of insufficient rainfall/irrigation or improper irrigation techniques.
  • If you get runoff before you can apply the 1 – 1.5″, either slow down your application to allow the water to seep into the soil or water for a shorter period, wait several hours and then finish with the remaining watering application.
  • Use a rain gauge to monitor output. Don’t guess or rely on the recommendation made by the irrigation installer. Your yard will need for you to determine its specific watering needs in order to use the irrigation system to its greatest potential.
  • The fertilizers and chemicals that are applied work much better if the turf is not in water stress. In some cases they do not work at all if the turf is stressed.
  • As the temperature begins to rise watering becomes increasingly important. Even more importantly, correct watering technique can be the difference between bad turf and great turf. The crucial NO watering periods are 4 p.m. to nine p.m. and 8 a.m. to about 11 a.m. Normal dew fall is during the period between 9 p.m. in the evening and 10 a.m. in the morning. By not watering during the restricted periods, you allow the grass blades to dry, breaking the wet period cycle needed by most fungal diseases to develop. Watering at times that allow the grass to stay wet for long periods encourages fungal germination and subsequent infection of plant tissues. Ideally, water between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • The warm season grasses also can develop brown patch but warm season turf is normally not as heavily and irreversibly damaged as cool season turf. Each fescue plant that dies is gone and leaves an empty space until you aerate and seed in the fall. The warm season turf will readily fill in the affected spot as the unaffected surrounding turf areas colonize the bare spot.



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