Actively growing turf grasses need less than 1 inch of water each week to remain green and healthy. During the high-heat periods of summer, growth will naturally slow, and lawns will often go dormant. Dormant lawns need no more than 1 inch of water every two to three weeks. Properly watering lawns can reduce water usage, encourage strong root systems and improve the overall health of the grass.
Step 1: Refrain from watering the lawn until the grass blades begin to turn bluish-purple or footprints remain on the lawn for several hours. Grass that bounces back after bending does not need to be watered.
Step 2: Always keep grass mowed above 2 inches. Grass mowed above 3 inches is more likely to survive drought conditions.
Step 3: Allow the lawn to go dormant during high heat and dry periods. Dormant grasses appear brown above ground while the root system remains alive and well.
Step 4: Water green lawns once a week with no more than 1 inch of water. More frequent watering promotes disease, facilitates weed growth and creates unhealthy root systems. Use a sprinkler gauge to assure that you are not overwatering.
Step 5: If the lawn goes dormant (turns brown), water it once every two to three weeks with one inch of water. When the lawn begins to turn green again, resume weekly waterings to facilitate its recovery.
Step 6: Generally, lawns should be watered early in the day, when the grass is still wet with dew. If nighttime temperatures remain above 70 degrees, water lawns in the early evening to reduce evaporation and allow moisture to penetrate to the root system.
Step 7: Set sprinklers to water the lawn, not the sidewalks or driveway. Avoid overlapping of sprinkler patterns to facilitate uniform coverage.
Step 8: Install a rain gauge to monitor rainfall and reduce weekly watering respectively.
Step 9: Apply nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and fall. Do not fertilize during the summer months.
Following a measured and consistent watering routine may not assure the grass will be greener on your side of the fence, but your lawn will be healthier and your pocket book will be heavier.