Watering the lawn

If you want your lawn to stay healthy and look good then watering the lawn is a process that you should routinely undertake in seasons where rainfall is inadequate and high temperatures result from strong sunshine.

Watering a lawn is not a process that should not be carried out every day! In order for a lawn to thrive the grass needs to have a healthy root system. A strong deep root system is encouraged when water penetrates deep into the soil, the roots then 'follow' the water and so form a deep healthy root system. A lawn that has only a shallow weak root system are at greater risk and will be more severely effected by environmental stress factors such as drought, pests or disease.

Watering the lawn efficiently

In certain regions and in certain years water may be scarce as water resevoirs may not have
adequate supply from rainfall. This can lead to a hosepipe ban in some areas meaning that use of a hosepipe fed lawn sprinkler is not possible. An attractive lawn needs a lot of water. What are the options for watering the lawn when there is a hosepipe ban or when we want to try and conserve water?

- Water your lawn in the early morning as this is when least evaporation will occur (due to cool
temperatures and low winds) and so results in greater water conservation. If you cannot water in the morning then the early evening is the next best time although this can result in the lawn being wet overnight. This can increase the likelihood of disease, indeed many fungus's that can affect the lawn need damp conditions to produce spores.

- Make sure to reduce the layer of thatch that can build up in the lawn as this can both take in
the water that was meant for the lawns grass roots as well as prevent the water from reaching the soil surface thus meaning that it can evaporate off the thatch without ever reaching the grass roots. Thatch can also cause water to run off into other areas, again preventing the water reaching the soil. You should aim to make thatch removal part of your lawn calendar and schedule it in for early spring or late summer.

- If using a sprinkler ensure the pressure and direction of the sprinkler are optimised so that
water is not being wasted by sprinkling it onto neighbouring non lawn surfaces such as patios,
paths, shrub beds etc.

- Make sure the soil is soaked in the root zone. This means soaking the soil to the depth that the grasses roots reach. You can determine whether the water is reaching the lawn roots by applying the sprinkler then leaving alone for 24 hours before digging up a small section of turf and soil to see how far down the soil the water has reached. If the water hasn't reached the desired depth then extend the sprinkling time next time you water.

- Determine how often your lawn needs watering. The intervals between watering will depend on a number of factors including temperature, rainfall and soil type. Remember to try and keep your watering routine so that the lawn is watered thoroughly at longer intervals rather than watering sparsely at more frequent intervals.