My Lawn Needs How Much Water? 

It's now August in Central Florida, which means it's going from hot to even hotter. When this happens, we hear a familiar question: how much should I water my lawn and landscape. Unfortunately, the answer is different for most of our customers. The purpose of this blog is to give you the basics.

The answer to "how much" depends on things like grass species, rainfall amounts, soil type and amount of compaction, and shade presence. That's a lot to take into consideration.

Too often, homeowners are unaware that irrigation systems need to be updated every season. People who don't usually end up with yards that are getting too much water. What's wrong with that, you ask.

Overwatering will harm long-term turf health because it dramatically increases disease susceptibility and thatch buildup and leads to a shorter root system, which reduces the turf's overall stress tolerance and ability to survive with less water. Additionally, overwatering promotes the growth of certain weed species, like dollar weed and sedges.

In Central Florida, we receive an average of 50 or more inches of rain a year. Ideally, University of Florida guidelines call for watering lawns on an "as-needed" basis. It's up to you to determine that basis. Here are the signs that your property isn't getting enough water:

Leaf-blades are folded in half lengthwise in an attempt to conserve water.
The grass looks more blue-gray than green.
Footprints are visible on the grass after more than 30 seconds.

When it comes to watering, an efficient session wets only the turf grass root zone, does not saturate the soil, and does not allow water to run off.
Florida soils are typically sandy and hold 1 inch of water in the top 12 inches of soil. If the roots are in the top 12 inches of soil and the soil is dry, then ½ to ¾ inch of water is required to wet the area thoroughly. Light, frequent watering is inefficient and encourages shallow root systems.

The best time for lawn irrigation is in the early morning hours. Watering during the day wastes water to excessive evaporation.

That's a lot to keep in mind this summer. Remember, the watering schedule needs to be adjusted again in the fall. If this is all too much to worry about, let us take over. ELT Landscape irrigation technicians are trained and ready to set your time for you and make sure every part of the system is doing what it's supposed to do.
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