Your goal is for the lawn to receive enough water to keep the soil slightly moist in the upper six inches of soil.
Lawns do best when they are soaked once per week and then allowed to dry between waterings. This allows grass roots to breathe. In the heat of summer, applying one inch of water per week, in one application, is good. Watering more often is a waste of water and may harm your lawn grass.
In spring and early summer, irrigation is rarely needed. Remember: if the soil is moist, there is no need to irrigate.
The best time to water a lawn is in the morning, preferably before noon. This allows the grass to dry before nightfall, reducing the risk of disease. Take into account recent rainfall when deciding how much to apply. Watering restrictions may impact how often you can irrigate. Check www.georgiadrought.org for the latest information. If restrictions mandate watering every other day, the schedules below may be modified to fit the rules.
How to measure the amount of water applied by irrigation:
●Place six identical containers randomly in the area wetted by your sprinkler.
●Plastic cups can be used but weight them down with a heavy washer in the bottom of each.
●Let your sprinkler run for an hour.
●Measure the depth of water that has accumulated in each cup.
●Calculate the average of the depths. This gives you the amount (in inches) that has been applied in an hour.
●Make a mental calculation of how long it will take to apply an inch of water.
●Don’t be surprised if your sprinkler must run for more than an hour to apply the water your lawn needs.
●●Use a trowel to check how far water soaks into the soil after irrigation.
●●Heavy clay soil absorbs water slowly. If water runs off before it is absorbed, split the irrigation into two sessions an hour apart.
●●Sandy soil absorbs water rapidly but dries out quickly. Consider splitting the recommended inch of water per week into two irrigations of one-half inch of water three days apart.
WATERING IN DROUGHT
Some grasses have the ability to go dormant when suffering from drought. During dormancy, the grass will turn yellow but, if it is healthy to begin with, it can recover when water becomes available.
Time turfgrass can go un-watered without substantial harm (weeks):
St. Augustinegrass 6
Seashore paspalum 6
Centipedegrass, Tall fescue 4