Tips from Toby: Knowing when to water your lawn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - We haven’t had much rain lately. We all know we need to water our lawns, but when. Our lawns tell us when!

Before we talk about anything having to do with watering… let’s get one of the most important factors straight first. DO NOT WATER AT NIGHT. See these lawn disease spores? These are what lead to all kinds of turf disease from fungus to brown patch. The two things these spores need to hatch are water and darkness. Watering at night does not give our lawns time to dry out during the day and those soggy conditions are a breeding ground for disease. Your watering should always be completed before 2:00pm. For most people it’s best to water early in the morning. So whether you are watering by hand or with a sprinkler system… watering at night is never advisable. 

Most of us water way too much especially those of us with Sprinkler systems. With the wildfires on the West coast and our dry spells in the midwest it is our duty not to waste water… let alone…. watering too much robs your lawn of oxygen and that can lead to more problems than if you didn’t water at all. Plus… most of our lawns can only absorb about a quarter inch of water per day… and the rest just runs off into the street… so water efficiently and wisely.

Rain Gauges are a necessity to proper watering but you can pretty easily eyeball whether your lawn needs water. If you start seeing shades of purple like this or obvious heat stress…. it’s time to get watering. Another easy indicator is if you step on the grass and it doesn’t spring back right away… you need to water.

Our lawns need one inch of water per week during the hot summer months. What Mother nature doesn’t give us… we must provide to have a healthy and beautiful lawn. If you want to skimp… you can let your back lawn go dormant during the Summer and just keep up your front lawn and landscape for curb appeal. Even if you do let your lawn go dormant… that doesnt let you completely off the hook! It is ESSENTIAL TO WATER EVERY WEEK TO KEEP THE SOIL MOIST AROUND YOUR FOUNDATION AND THOSE EXPENSIVE TREES. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION UNLESS YOU LIKE HAVING EXPENSIVE FOUNDATION PROBLEMS. It is the expansion and contraction of the soil around our foundations that leads to cracks and leaks.

Finally…. for those who have sprinkler systems… learn to use the control box. These things are not the easiest systems to program but knowing how to program your sprinkler system can help you save a ton of money on water and also keep you from being ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE… who’s sprinkler system is running full bore the morning after a heavy rain storm….. and we all know... you don’t want to be ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!!!!

The most essential tool to good watering is a rain gauge. Be sure to be watching next week. We’re going to show you how to use it and how to install it. That’s it… I’m Toby Tobin. Have a great week.

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