One of the most critical factors for having a beautiful lawn is your watering routine. Grass in your lawn needs water for growth and surviving scorching heats of the summer season. One question that comes into everyone’s mind with lawns is that how often you should water your lawn with a sprinkler system.
In this article, we will discuss how often (recommended sprinkler run times) and how much you should water your lawn to get that flawless and beautiful lawn that would amaze everyone in your neighborhood. We will also highlight how to water your lawn with an oscillating sprinkler system and take care of it.
How much should you Water your Lawn?
A typical lawn needs around 1-1 ½ inches of water per week around the year. You must give this much amount of water in the winter season as well, but because of the minimal sun in winter and snow/rain, lawns get this amount of water naturally. If it rains during the summer season as well, and your lawn gets enough water, you do not need to water it. One of the best ways to judge that whether you are giving the right amount of water to your lawn is to take a 6-inch long screwdriver or a steel rod and insert it in the soil, if it goes inside with minimal effort, you are doing it right and giving your lawn the required amount of water.
The Best Time to Water your Lawn
It is a big misconception among the lawn owners that you can water your lawn at any time. The best time to water your lawn is from 2 AM-8 AM. Yes, you heard us right! The reason is that during this time, the evaporation rate is very low, and your grass gets to absorb the maximum amount of water without any interference from the sun. Other times and the risks associated with them are listed below
12 AM – 2 AM: Low Risk – It is better to avoid this time if the day was extremely hot and humid
2 AM – 8 AM: Lowest Risk, Best Time – It is the best time to water your lawn. This time slot gives maximum time to your lawn to absorb water, and it helps in the nutrition and growth of greener grass. Even in this period, 4 AM – 8 AM is considered perfect for watering your lawn.
8 AM – 12 PM: Moderate Risk – There is a moderate risk in this time to water your lawn. The reason is that the sun is not in its full bloom before noon, and hence your lawn gets time to absorb water in a handsome amount.
12 PM – 4 PM: Low Risk – There is low risk in this time to water your lawn. This time must be avoided if you have had a warm and humid day or there is a rain forecast during the night.
4 PM – 12 AM: High Risk – Do not water your lawn during this time. The capacity of grass to absorb during this time of the day is worst. The water will stay above the soil and will make the grass damp. The dampness provides a breeding ground for fungus, and it harms your lawn in many ways.
With an automatic oscillating sprinkler system, you can easily maintain a timing schedule. Just set the timing beforehand and get a flawless lawn.
Oscillating Sprinkler Systems
Oscillating sprinklers come in a fan-shaped broad-based design and generate a spray that oscillates backward and forward. The water jets sitting at the top of the soil have perforated holes which allow them to cover more area as compared to other sprinkling systems. The water is distributed in a fan-like motion. Oscillating sprinkler systems are best for new grass and old grass as well. They go gentle on new grass and yet provide a watering speed, which is perfect for old grass too.
Recommended Running Time
The recommended running time for an oscillating sprinkler system depends upon factors such as the pressure of water, the speed of the sprinklers, and the weather conditions. The best way to assess the water speed after setting the pressure is to place a flat bowl with a straight on your lawn and run the sprinkler system. Keep a lookout for the time it takes to deposit 1 1 ½ inch of water in the bowl. This is the recommended time for which you should run the sprinkler system.
The usual time a well maintained oscillating system with a normal water pressure takes is around 45 minutes to deposit 1- 1 ½ inch of water. You will need to water your lawn 3 times a week in the summer season and adjust the frequency according to the rain forecasts and changes in weather. When there is rain forecast, you can run the sprinkler system for 1-2 times in a week.
If you live in an area where the temperature shoots very high and the lawn gets yellow or dry due to severe heat, you need to water more. In such a situation, you can give your lawn a little amount of water daily to cool the grass off.
Another helpful trick is to divide a session into 2 parts. Give your lawn and sprinkler system a break of 20 minutes for better absorption of water in your lawn.
The next question that pops up in our mind is how to set the running time on your sprinkler system. We will guide you for setting the time for both the digital system and for mechanical timers as well.
For digital systems, you need to choose the right zone and set water schedules in each region. Adjust the date and time, allocate the time you need the valves to stay open, and then select the days on which you need to run the sprinklers.
Setting the time for mechanical systems is not difficult, but a bit of a technical thing to do. Most people do it very well, so it won’t be a problem for you as well. First of all, push the brass pin in the hole next to the time watering should begin, remember not to skip a hole while you are adding more pins in the holes. Now select the length of time by placing brass pins in the holes and set the time by turning the dial in the clockwise direction. Do the same for each zone.
Taking Care of your Sprinkler System
A broken or damaged sprinkler system may not only cause you a beautiful lawn, but it will also increase your water usage and contribute to wastage of water. By acting on the following suggestions, you can take care of your lawn sprinkler system. It will not only help you get a lush green lawn, but it will also increase the lifespan of your sprinkling system
Avoid High Water Pressure – High water pressure causes the sprinkler system to wear down early; it also contributes to water wastage. If you have high water pressure at your home, you need to reduce the supply pressure at the time of running the sprinkler system.
Look for Damages to Broken Water Heads – High water pressure also causes water heads to brake and become tilt. Such situations also contribute to dry areas, which soon become yellow due to less supply of water and stands out oddly in a green lawn. Tilted heads can do the same to your lawn, they may also cover some areas with more water, and it will cause fungal growth in that region. Similarly, clogged sprinkler heads can also disrupt the watering routine. It may happen due to the accumulation of salts because of hard water. You can clean them a paper clip gently.
How to Get the Best Results with your Sprinkler System
Following tips will help you get the best results with your sprinkler system
Regulating the water pressure – Make sure that the water pressure is not too high and not too low. It should be kept in accordance with the recommendations that come written on the user manual you get with a sprinkler system.
Matching the sprinkler heads – Sprinkler heads in each zone are the same, so every area of lawn gets an equal amount of water.
Using check valves – Using check valves helps in saving water and overwatering for your lawn. They come in handy when the heads start to leak water.
Avoid watering during rain – Avoid running the sprinkler system when it is raining, or you have a forecast for today or the next day.
Lookout for Wet or Dry Spots – Most of the homeowners, due to a busy schedule, fail to give due attention to their lawns. Sprinkler systems because of broken/tilted or clogged heads make wet spots or dry spots. Take a look at your lawn every couple of days and watch for such spots. Either get your sprinkler system repaired or care for such spots yourself.
Raising the mowing height – By raising the mowing height, you can avoid pressure on the grass, and it will not hurt newly grown and weak grass.