The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 06-26-03 Printer-Friendly Version
Less Is More And Early Is Best - The Keys to Lawn Watering Practices...
When it comes to using irrigation on the grass, less means more and more means less. I'll start by saying that what you are about to read is not only my opinion, but the opinion of many of the best Turfgrass researchers from Florida to Mississippi to Louisiana and of course Texas.
I don't care what your irrigation company, or your landscaper tells you to do, please remember this: Light, frequent watering of turf grasses produces a weak, shallow root system. And I'm learning that this is exactly what's being recommended, and it's making me worry. Just remember too, that the shallow-weaker root system also encourages weed invasion and does not allow effective use of soil nutrients or moisture.
In contrast, deep, less frequent watering produces an extensive root system that efficiently utilizes the soil's resources and is less susceptible to stress injury. Most grasses take on a dull purplish cast and the leaf blades begin to roll or fold before they begin to wilt. This is the perfect indication that your irrigation practices are off kilter.
Ideally, it is best to water any turf just before it begins to wilt. Early morning is the best time of day to water (late evening is the worst). It seems like every time I make this sort of recommendation, I get arguments from people (mostly in emails, so they can hide) about this fact. At the risk of repeating myself for those who've gotten email tips like this in the past.
1. That's meteorologically and statistically when wind is at it's lowest - thus, less waste and evaporation.
2. It's when it's the coolest part of the day - thus, less evaporation and waste of money.
3. Agricultural Engineers have proved over and over again, that is when water pressure on the whole is at it's best - thus, better use of water. (I realize people are taking showers in the morning, but I'm just sharing with you what the experts have actually studied.)
4. It allows the turf/soil to actually use the water during the heat of the day.
5. Finally, it gets you in a good habit of not watering in the evenings, so that when fall rolls around, you aren't running the risk of diseases like brownpatch, by having moisture on the turf in the cooler evenings.
I also put out a tip sheet not too long ago, which is now permanently ensconced on our webpage, to also educate you how much moisture the turf needs during these hotter-than-Houston summers. This tip sheet also takes into consideration how important "your kind of soil" is to this whole equation.
Click here for that info:
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.