Turfgrass – Watering

Q: My lawn maintenance guy and I have a difference of opinion. Turf experts recommend an inch of water per week, applied every seven days. My yard guy says that since the subsoil is so hard-packed six inches below my grass that any water applied after twenty minutes just runs off. Therefore he recommends one or two twenty-minute irrigation sessions each week. What are your thoughts?

A: I’m going to split the difference between you two. It is true that most lawns benefit from an inch of water per week during a droughty summer. It is also true that in some situations, such as compacted soil or steep slopes, water begins to run off after twenty minutes.

Here’s the solution: schedule your irrigation so that a total of an inch of water is applied in one day but split the application into two or three twenty-minute sessions. In this way water has a chance to soak in rather than run off. Use a rain gauge to measure the amount applied. Be sure a total of one inch of water is applied during the day, preferably before noon..

Most importantly, don’t forget the watering restrictions now in place. For more information, visit www.georgiadrought.org.

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