Lawns are living plants consisting of over 85% water, therefore they need water to survive and thrive. For most of the year our lawns will receive sufficient water from the soil and rain, however during dry periods it may be necessary to provide additional water by irrigation.
So what will happen to your lawn if you don’t water it?
If lawns are allowed to become too dry they can develop a condition called Dry Patch. Look out for patchy areas of straw coloured grass on your lawn. If this condition occurs watering your lawn will become relatively ineffective as the soil particles develop a waxy covering which repels any water applied. The solution is to apply a Wetting Agent, which will break down the waxy covering and encourage the soil to accept water again. For more information on this you can contact your local lawn care professional who will be able to help.
Weeds don’t like a healthy lawn. If you have dense healthy grass it will be difficult for weed seeds to get to the soil and they will die before becoming a problem. When your lawn is left to dry out it will result in a patchy lawn and will be uneven in appearance. It will soon be invaded by weeds, especially broadleaf weeds. See more about Weeds here.
As a professional lawn care company we visit thousands of lawns and we see a variety of turf grasses. There are certain turf grasses like Perennial Ryegrasses and Tall Fescues which are able to tolerate a period of drought. These grasses will turn brown as they lose their available moisture but will re-grow new green blades of grass if the drought period does not last longer than 3 to 4 weeks. However, your lawn’s grass will be permanently damaged if it doesn’t get at least 2 inches of water each week if the drought period goes on for longer than 4 weeks. The root systems will become damaged and the grass will become very thin or completely die off. If your lawn is also fighting with lawn diseases and insect damage you will most likely need to have your lawn completely over-seeded in the Autumn.
Too Busy To Water Your Lawn?
If you just find you don’t have the time to spend watering your lawn when it needs it, there are options available to you. There are some very good lawn sprinkler systems available. Most DIY Garden Centres will sell a variety of sprinklers which will be ideal for your purposes and space required and most will come with splitters and timers. Ask about irrigation systems that will provide timed watering for your front lawn and then the back lawn which will be a great option for you if you don’t want to be dragging hoses and sprinklers around your garden all through the week.
You could look into installing a professional irrigation system, this is a more costly alternative but once in place will save you time and water and it will direct the water exactly where it is needed the most. Another option to help your lawn survive the periods of drought is to have a Water Conserver treatment applied to your lawn. See more about Water Conserver Treatment here.
The flip side of this is over watering your lawn. Quite often our Customers ask us if they need to water their lawn every day. Watering your lawn every day is not necessary. If your lawn has approximately 2-3 deep watering sessions a week you will see better results. The soil receives moisture much deeper which will result in your grass roots growing deeper and stronger.
How you water your lawn depends upon the type of soil that you have. If your soil is sandy it will be poor at retaining water, so it will need to be watered little and often. Clay based soils can hold onto water for longer periods and will need to be watered thoroughly and then left to dry. If you water clay soils on a frequent basis this will promote shallow rooting as the roots find the water they need too easily.
Take a look at your lawn it will tell you when it needs to be watered, as it’s moisture reserves will become depleted the colour of the grass will develop a bluish tint and become dull and it will lose its ability to spring back after being walked on. This is the time to water. When it looks straw like it is telling you it is entering a dormant state because lack of watering.
Choosing the time of day to water is important, early morning is perfect as the soil is capable of taking the water and any left in the grass leaf area evaporates as the sun rises. Watering in the evening means the grass leaf area will remain wet as the temperature falls, which can result in Fungal Diseases such as Fusarium or Red Thread.
If you would like to find out more about the information above or any other lawn issues, just contact us. One of our local lawn care professionals will be able to visit your lawn and offer a FREE lawn review service, where they will inspect your lawn and identify any issues it may have.