When To And Not To Water The Lawn. - Knowledgebase Question

Costa Mesa, CA
Avatar for bmf2001
Question by bmf2001
February 22, 2002
I am a new lawn owner who lives near the coast. It's generally hot in the summer and cold in the winter give or take a few days of screwy weather. I've always thought that you should not water the lawn when the temperature is cold. If that is true then what temperature is too cold and is it OK to water during the day (warmer hours) if you know it will be that cold at night? Also, what is a general rule of thumb for the frequency a lawn should be watered and for how long?

Thank You

Answer from NGA
February 22, 2002
Turfgrass tends to grow whenever the air temperature reaches the mid-40's. So, your grass can grow in typical winter weather, but it grows fastest when temperatures are spring-like. Healthy, growing grass needs about one-inch of water per week, applied slowly so it percolates down to thoroughly wet the root system. Grasses with deep root systems will better tolerate droughty conditions and the heat of summer. Try keeping track of rainfall with a rain gauge out in the garden. If average temperatures remain above the mid-40's, you can water your lawn on a weekly basis, applying whatever is necessary to bring the total amount of water to one-inch per week. To check the output of your sprinklers you can place several tuna or cat food cans out on the lawn and run your sprinklers for 15 minutes. Check the amount of water that has collected in the cans. If it's less than 1-inch, run the sprinklers again for 15 minutes. After keeping track of the time required to collect 1-inch of water in the cans, you'll know how long it takes your sprinklers to release enough water to throughly wet the root system of your lawn. Hope this information helps you decide when and how much to water your lawn.

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