Quick Facts on Lawn Watering
- Lawns in Missouri may require as much as 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week from irrigation or rainfall during summer to remain green and actively growing.
- Turf grasses in Missouri rank as follows in resistance to leaf wilting and browning during summer dry periods — bermuda, zoysia, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass.
- During extended periods of drought, dormant lawns (browned-out leaves) containing Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass should receive 1-1/2 inches of irrigation every week to maintain hydrated grass crowns and allow for full lawn recovery when more favorable moisture and temperature return in the fall.
- Deeper roots draw moisture from a larger volume of soil and therefore require less supplemental irrigation.
- Taller grass provides shading of the soil surface and reduces lethal temperatures near the base of grass plants.
- Lawns mowed weekly at a taller mowing height are less likely to be scalped. Scalped lawns lose density and have shallow root systems. Mowing height for fescue and bluegrass is 2.5-3” and zoysia performs best when cut 1.5-2”. Never cut more than 1/3 of the height at a time, if you have to bag the clippings.
- Most hoses & sprinkler systems deliver about a 1/2 inch of water per hour, but all are different. You should test your sprinkler, this can be done using tin cans placed in a few areas to determine how much water is being put out per hour.
- The best time to water a lawn is from 6 to 8 a.m. During this time the water pressure is highest, disruption of the water pattern from wind is low, and water lost to the atmosphere by evaporation is negligible. Watering early in the morning also has the advantage of reducing the chance of developing turf diseases.
Approximate water requirements- LONGER LESS FREQUENT WATERINGS (Every 3-7 Days based on heat) ARE BETTER THAN WATERING DAILY FOR SHORT AMOUNTS OF TIME.
Adequate soil moisture at 6 to 8 inches deep is sufficient to maintain grasses during the summer. A foot-long slender screwdriver pushed into the ground in several locations can also give a quick assessment of the moisture condition of the soil. The screwdriver will easily penetrate to the soil depth which has received sufficient water. The screwdriver test can also be used to help determine where and when there is a need for irrigation. Irrigation schedules should be kept flexible and adjusted with the need for moisture.