My daughter is killing her lawn!

Posted in: Dear Mabel, ELNews | 3

Q. My daughter and I have having an argument about the best way to water the lawn. Since it’s been so hot lately, I’ve been putting the sprinkler on in the morning before I go to work and moving it when I come home for lunch so that the grass doesn’t die. My daughter only waters her lawn once a week and her grass is turning brown. I think her grass is going to die and she’ll have to reseed it in the spring, she thinks I’m using too much water. Who is right?

A. The devil is always in the details, but I’m afraid that your daughter is right on this one. Grass is naturally adapted to prefer dry conditions, even in extreme heat, it doesn’t need to be watered every day. Lawns only need an inch of water every week. Less frequent watering will also let your grass develop deeper roots, which will create a healthier lawn. Brown grass doesn’t necessarily mean that the grass will die, if your daughter is watering every week, the roots of the grass are probably still perfectly healthy and are waiting for cooler weather to regrow. After all, the coulees turn brown every summer and the wild grasses regrow every year!

To help conserve water, it’s best to water early in the morning or late in the evening. The amount of water that is lost to evaporation increases during the hottest part of the day, so most of the water that you’re putting on your lawn might not even be reaching its roots!


3 Responses

  1. Joel

    The best time to water is in the early morning when any residual water is evaporated by the sun, watering late in the evening allows water to sit on the grass for an extended period of time promoting disease.

    Plant functions also shut down during the hottest parts of the day to conserve energy so watering is ineffective.

    1 inch *net* is recommended weekly. Even the most efficient irrigation systems strive for 80 percent efficiency so calculating over that inch should be done

  2. Doug Madill

    One hour of watering one particular area of your lawn/garden is the equivalent of one inch of rain that is absorbed by the roots and forces them to grow deeper, and therefore withstand the hot and windy periods that Lethbridge experiences. I have done this every summer starting at 4:30 a.m.and until the sun comes up, once and on occasion, twice per week depending on the severity and length of the drought period. Watering your lawn in the summer is best done in the early morning hours to reduce the threat of bacterial and insect invasions in your lawn.

  3. Tracey

    I’ve taken out all my lawn in my back yard and replaced it with drought-tolerant plants. I’ve taken out half of my lawn in my front yard, to be replaced with gravel, drought-tolerant plants, and hardscaping, and the other half of my front lawn has been turned into a clover lawn (this is experimental, to see how it goes). In a hot, dry place, we need to think beyond turfgrass lawns. 🙂

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