Lawn Irrigation Tips for a Healthy Lawn

A healthy, green lawn is the goal of every homeowner.  While there are many variables that contribute to the health and overall look of turf, lawn irrigation is one of the most influential and important factors in lawn health.  A lawn irrigation plan involves more than just turning on the sprinkler.  It must complement the entire scheme of lawn watering and lawn care-including mowing, irrigation, aeration and pest control.  A good lawn irrigation program will work hand in hand with the rest of the lawn care program.

Lawn Irrigation Systems

A lawn irrigation system can be a comprehensive, underground system with timers, valves and programs.  It can also be a hose and sprinkler.  Which method is most effective depends upon where you live, the species of grass you have, the weather conditions, and amount of time you want to spend watering the lawn. Automatic lawn irrigation systems are generally best for areas that require constant maintenance and regular watering to maintain active, healthy growth.  Most warm-season grasses require a constant water supply during the warm, active growth months to maintain an even, fresh appearance.  Grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine need regular watering, or they will go dormant.  If you live in an area where these types of grass are common, you will want an automatic, professionally installed irrigation system to maintain the turf at peak performance, year-round.  This does not mean watering year-round on the same schedule, but rather watering according to the needs of the turf. Irrigation systems with timers and program options are great for homeowners because they allow for flexibility according to the weather or seasonal conditions, but allow for consistency when the homeowner is away, or the growing conditions remain stable. If you do not have an automatic lawn irrigation system, you will most likely need to water with a hose and sprinkler.  Most lawns, after they are well-established, need at least one inch of water per week.  Delivery of the water can be split into two separate watering throughout the week.  Grass is healthiest when it is watered deeply and infrequently.  That encourages deep root growth.  If you water on your own without help of an automatic lawn irrigation system, water each location twice a week until a half inch has accumulated in a rain gauge or similar measuring device.  (Any straight-sided container will do.  Just use a ruler to measure the water collection.)  Proper watering techniques can ensure a healthy lawn by keeping the turf stress-free.  Maintaining optimum watering conditions promotes deep rooting, disease resistance and insect resistance.  Pests and diseases tend to strike when the plant is least healthy or under water or nutrient stress.  Proper watering can keep pests and diseases at bay.

When Lawn Irrigation is not Necessary

Some types of grasses do not need to be irrigated year-round.  For instance, warm-season grasses go dormant during the cool winter months.  During this time, irrigation is not only not necessary, irrigating when a turf is dormant can cause it to rot, or allow weed seeds to germinate. Proper lawn irrigation techniques go a long way toward maintaining a healthy lawn.  Be sure to tailor your lawn irrigation plan to the specific type of turfgrass in your yard for best results.
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