Walking to the neighborhood today I see some beautiful lawns with lush, thick, bright green grass and they’re pretty much wet all the time. Does this mean they water every day? Is that healthy for a lawn? How often should you be watering? How much is 1 inch of water per week? All of these questions can leave homeowners really confused and frustrated that they’re not getting the rich, lush lawn that may be their neighbors have.
So, how much should I be watering my lawn? Let’s talk about watering your lawn in the Pacific Northwest and what it really means.
Most lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. But what is that even mean? How can you tell? This is typically about 20 to 30 minutes a couple of times a week. But, it also depends on the pressure of your sprinkler and how you are watering.
You might see brown patches pop up and think that you naturally should start watering more. But usually when you see Brown, it’s already too late. The nutrients have died out in the blade and in the root system and while the grass is not necessarily dead forever, it will take a lot more to get it to come back. It’s easier to get a jump on it before it turns brown.
Various factors depend on the type of watering you’ll need to do including the grass type, the season, the sprinkler system, and the weather. First up determine your lawn’s weekly watering needs. Specific grass in the time of year can also affect how much you water.
The season also varies depending on how much water your lawn needs. Obviously, in the fall, spring, and winter months, you’ll be getting a lot of water because we live in the Pacific Northwest and those cool seasons help the grass to grow. But in the hot summer months, you need to be on top of it before you notice it starts turning brown.
Calculate your sprinkler output by placing six straight-sided containers of the same size and shape in one area of the lawn where your sprinklers will hit the most. Run your sprinkler for 20 minutes and then measure the depth of water in each container. This will calculate the average depth across the containers. You multiply the depth by three to figure out how many inches of water your sprinkler system puts out per hour. If each container had about 1/4 inches of water, then you would need to time that by six to get how much and how long to water your garden.
How to know if you watered enough or too much.
Check the soil. See how long it takes for water to soak into the soil and then check it every 15 minutes during your first watering. Mark the time the soil has been soaked to a depth of at least 6 inches and that’s how long you’ll need to water your lawn each time in the future. If you can easily stick a screwdriver or stick in 6 inches deep to the soil, you probably need water.
Consider a flow timer.
A flow timer or water timer measures water flow in hundreds of gallons. You multiply the square footage of your lawn by .62 gallons and determine the total number of gallons needed for the entire lawn. If your lawn is not absorbing water as quickly as you think it should, or you find that puddling occurs when you water, water in shorter cycles such as 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off to allow the water to soak in.
Most counties and even towns around Snohomish and King County will have specific watering schedules that homeowners can adhere to so everyone is not watering at the same time. SEE WATERING PDF
An in-ground irrigation system is really the most low maintenance, set it and forget it system for watering your lawn. While this might be an expense, it is something that can create a good investment in your home. Most landscapers will not do anything with watering and this is definitely a homeowners maintenance area. But, for other landscaping needs or to completely redo your lawn, give us a call.Get a Free Quote