Proper Turf Irrigation for the Summer

on Jul 21 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

With longer days and scorching temperatures, summer irrigation plays a crucial part in your lawn’s wellbeing.

Irrigating your lawn can be a hit or miss. It’s possible that you are not irrigating enough. Drought stress has many different effects on turf. As grass loses water, the leaf blade becomes less rigid and starts to wilt. If you are seeing certain areas in your turf turn a purple hue, water the area immediately, as this is usually a sign of wilting. A good way to test if your turf is wilted is to step on the area. If your shoes leave depressions in the turf after walking through the yard, it more than likely has drought stress and needs watering. If the grass goes a long period without water, it will go into dormancy and turn a yellowish color. The plant is still alive but the leaves dry up and die.

You may never have considered this, but another common problem with irrigation is over watering. Too much water can lead to many issues in your turf. Over saturation can drown the plant roots by filling the air pores in the soil, and preventing the roots from taking in oxygen. Excess water can also be a problem when fertilizing your lawn. Over watering leaches the nutrients from the soil so they are no longer available for the root system. Prolonged moisture in the soil also attracts fungus and diseases like brown patch, large patch, and fairy ring. Lastly, over watering can make troublesome weeds difficult to control.

Another mistake homeowners make when irrigating their lawns is doing so at incorrect times. Irrigating at the proper time of day is just as important for your plants health, as the amount of water itself. Irrigating in the early morning hours is typically the best time for your turf. At night, the grass surface will cool, causing atmospheric moisture to condense and form dew on the leave blades. Diseases and viruses can be transmitted into you grass by the dew. Irrigating in the morning washes off any contaminated dew and helps protect your turf from these diseases. If you have to water later during the day it should be done only on hot spots. Contrary to popular belief, watering during the day will not cause your grass to burn. You will hear people say that water droplets on the leaf surface during the day will act like tiny magnifying glasses, cause the sun’s rays to zap the leave. This is a myth that we should put to bed. Watering during the day will actually cool the surface temps, giving some stress relief to the lawn, and also help reduce the risk of fungal diseases that thrive in the heat.

One thing to remember is that suggested watering amounts are different with cool and warm season grasses. Typically warm season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia do not need as much watering as a cool season grass like a fescue. Bermuda can go an extended amount of time without watering but recommend to be watered at least 1-2 times a week with at least 1-2 inches of water to maintain good growth. Cool season grasses during the summer months need to be watered around 2-3 times a week, with 1-2 inches per application. Also remember these times and amounts will vary depending on the microclimate of your turf. Shaded areas under trees or on the north sides of structures that get less sun will have less water demands. Soil types are another variable to consider. Turf grown in sandy soils will need to be re-watered sooner than clay soils. We recommend observing your lawn and environmental conditions, and adjusting watering times accordingly.

Written by Tony Gregory and Bobby Jones

Comments are closed.