Who Knew Watering Your Lawn Could be so Complicated?
by Kevin Hughes
on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 at 2:37pm.
When it comes to watering your lawn, there are a lot of questions one could ask. The subject is particularly important when living in the warm Summer climate of southern Idaho. Properly watering your lawn is critical to maintaining the curb appeal of your beautiful Idaho Home while keeping water bills low. The following are tips for Idaho home buyers on how to keep lawns lush and healthy to maximize the beauty of your yard.
The Effects Of Under and Over Watering
Lawns that are not receiving the right amount of water show it. Grass that is under-watered takes on a gray or purplish green color. The grass stems are less resilient so footprints show more readily.
Over-watering often results in disease development as well as the growth of fungus. It interferes with the uptake of nutrients and can even leach soluble fertilizer and lawn chemicals down into the ground water. In addition, over-watering prevents the roots from absorbing oxygen which leads to the inhibited development of root systems.
How Much? Lawn watering changes with the seasons. In the warm months of Idaho summers, in areas like Boise, Meridian, Eagle and Nampa, a lawn needs almost twice the amount of water that it will need in spring and fall. Winter watering should be done in warm dry winters to prevent desiccation. However, do not water after the first freeze. Idaho land owners who have acreage properties, farms, ranches, or horse properties may need to round up information from their local water company, irrigation or canal company to verify their water rights and times of usage.
Different soils absorb water at different rates. Loamy and clay soils hold water better than sandy soils and can be watered less often. If the the soil is compacted or heavy clay, the water should be applied in short increments to give the soil time to absorb it.
A quick way to know if a lawn is being over-watered is to survey the ground. Clearly, if there are standing puddles then the water is being applied too quickly for the grass and soil to soak it up. Watering should be lessened into shorter intervals.
The amount of water that the ground holds is referred to as soil penetration, filling the soil or soil moisture. Soil moisture can be checked in several different ways. The easiest is to take a long screwdriver and push it into the ground. After pulling it back up, measure the amount of moist soil. This test allows a new Idaho home buyer to quickly find out if the current watering system is adequate. Twelve inches is optimum for healthy lawn growth. If there is less than six to eight inches, then the lawn needs to be watered more frequently.
When To Water
Watering in the evening or at night is easiest for busy people but it is the worst time for lawns. During the night, the plants do not dry and this can lead to disease and rotting.
The best time to water is as close to dawn as possible. The cooler temperatures prevent the lawn from being scorched as well as helping it keep cool in summer months. The early morning sun will dry off water not absorbed by the plants or soil.
You can check out more watering information at Idaho Landscapes and Gardens, a University of Idaho Extension, for additional helps and hints.