HomeLawn Care Guide Lawn Maintenance ▸ Watering your lawn

Watering your lawn

A single sprinkler spraying a large area
Several sprinklers spraying in various directions

Make your lawn a star in an instant – just add water…

Unfortunately, no matter how much love and care we give to our lawn, without moisture we have nothing. Without it, lawns will not thrive, they soon turn brown and go into a dormant state until water is available. Put simply, it is the plants’ defence mechanism to help it survive through dry periods.

In the UK we are very lucky, with our four distinct seasons which create a good environment for lawns. In general we don’t really need to employ the automatic irrigation systems which are essential in warmer countries. The sheer amount of rain we can get in the summer also allows us to indulge in the English passion for talking (and moaning) about the weather…

Sometimes though, it does become too dry for our lawns. Even after a few weeks of warm weather with no rain, our lawns will start to show signs of drought stress. Soil type will dictate how quickly your lawn starts suffering; sandy or chalky soils will dry out much faster and need more watering than loamy or clay soils which retain moisture. If you are in the sandy soil category though, it might be an idea to consider an automatic irrigation system.

Watering a lawn to keep it green and healthy is not for everyone and when there are water shortages it is the last thing we should be doing. The great thing about grass is that even after long periods of drought it usually tends to recover when we get significant rainfall. Given a bit of TLC, such as aeration and over-seeding, it will recover surprisingly quickly.

If you decide to water your lawn it is best to try and mimic nature by irrigating thoroughly to simulate natural rainfall – taking the ‘little and often’ approach is rarely adequate and is not recommended. Simulating rainfall encourages your lawn to root deep as it searches for water, so our advice is to water heavily once or twice per week to saturation point, either at night or early in the morning when there is less wind and sun to cause evaporation.

The easiest way to water your lawn without an automatic irrigation system is to use a good quality sprinkler – brass headed sprinklers like these are available from www.thelawnstore.co.uk.

A great trick to judge if your lawn has received enough water in one session is to put a jam jar or similar sized container under the sprinkler and continue watering until there is an inch of water in the jar – you’d be surprised how many people underestimate how much water is required. Just pretend your lawn is like a good friend who’s come over for Christmas and make sure they have plenty to drink…

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