Don’t think you’re harming your lawn by waiting to water, you’re actually strengthening it by forcing your grass roots to grow deeper in search for water.
- Stress your lawn at the beginning of Spring by delaying wateringsince spring rain and mild temperatures will sustain your lawn.
- Your roots will grow deeper and your lawn will become stronger.
- Soil should be moist 4 to 6 inches below the lawn surface.
- Provides access to more nutrients (can only access nutrients as far as the roots will reach).
- Reduces the need for fertilizer.
- Creates a more drought tolerant lawn.
This involves removing small, deep plugs of soil from your lawn.
- Allows air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots.
- Rake or mow over the small round cones of soil that are cut out of the ground to break them up.
- The micro-organisms in the cores will help to decompress thatch and allow your lawn to absorb more moisture, improving water penetration.
Keep your grass three inches long
When you mow your lawn, keep the grass at 2.5 to 3 inches long.
- Longer grass shades soil and its own roots from the sun.
- Chokes out weeds.
- Helps create a healthier, hardier lawn.
- Allows longer roots to develop.
- Holds moisture better.
Leave grass clippings on your lawn
It's easy to grasscycle with your mower. Keep the mower blade sharp and mow when the grass is dry.
- Clippings left on the lawn will break down easily.
- Increase organic matter.
- Discourages weeds.
- Retains moisture.
- Returns nutrients to the soil.
- Provides free fertilizer to help your lawn grow greener.
- Helps shade your soil.
Best time to water
Watering your grass at the proper time will result in losing less water to evaporation and keeping more in the soil.
- Early morning watering allows time for the water to absorb into the soil before the sun comes out.
- Try not to water in the evening as soil will remain wet most of the night and can cause disease.
- Most soil diseases require prolonged surface moisture.
Shorten watering cycles
With clay soils, such as in Carlisle, slopes and other areas where water runs off quickly, should use short watering cycles on separate days to minimize runoff.
Don’t think you’re harming your lawn by waiting to water when it begins to show signs of drought.
- Grasses have a built-in mechanism to slow-down water loss during periods of dry, hot weather.
- The crowns or growing points of the lawn will remain alive for at least 4 to 6 weeks without water.
- Once this crown gets moisture again, it will come to life and the turf will green up in 10 to 14 days.
- Water dormant grass when: the blades don’t spring back upright when you walk on it and when the blades fold to show their lighter blueish green underside.
- If the lawns receive a lot of traffic while in a dormant state, there will be irreparable damage.
- Avoid watering heavily and breaking the dormancy and then letting the lawn dry out again.
- Forcing it back into dormancy can stress the lawn and result in your grass dying.
Feed your soil
Keep your soil healthy by spreading compost and fertilizer.
- Top dressing your lawn with compost frequently, will reduce weeds, the need to water and improves soil quality.
- Fall fertilizers are important on lawns that have suffered drought dormancy, and will help lawn recovery by stimulating growth of new roots.
- Hold off watering after applying fertilizer to allow the fertilizer time to be absorbed into the soil.
- Avoid heavy watering to reduce runoff.
Fallen leaves provide nourishment and food for your lawn.
- Mowing the leaves right into your lawn can improve vigor and slow weed germination.
- Compost leaves and apply throughout the season.
- Do not leave thick layers of leaves on your lawn as it can cause rot. Shred, mow or mulch them first.
Here are some other tips to consider that will help conserve water.
- Use a rain barrel to supplement your watering needs.
- Do not let thatch build up as it will cause runoff and less water reaching your soil.
- Use a rain gauge to help monitor rainfall and how much water you are using on your grass, to avoid over watering or watering when it is not necessary.
- Allow the surface to dry out between watering.
- Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out to help kill off newly germinated weed seeds, fungus and insect eggs.
- Water problem areas by hand to avoid over watering the rest of the grass.
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