Water conditions in the Seattle area are currently fair. Are you wondering how often you should be watering your lawn, or if at all? Watering schedules do matter and depend on the time of day and how often you water.
In July, lawns need about 1 inch of water per week, spread over 2 or 3 waterings, to stay green. They need only ½ to ¾ inch per week the rest of the summer (use a tuna can to measure sprinkler output). Watering deeply and less often is generally best, to moisten the whole root zone.
Lawns allowed to go brown do best if watered deeply once a month in summer to keep the roots alive.
- Make every drop count. Water early or late in the day to reduce evaporation, build your soil with compost and mulch, and choose low water use plants.
- Check the soil before you water. Probe with a finger of trowel to see if the soil is still damp a few inches down. When it’s dry down at the root zone, it’s time to water.
- Water deeply, but less frequently. An hour after watering, check the soil again to see if the water has reached the rootzone. Adjust your watering time to moisten the whole root zone, but then wait until the upper few inches of soil are dry before watering again, which encourages deeper roots.
- Water slowly to prevent surface runoff and give water time to penetrate. If water puddles on the surface before it is absorbed by the soil, start and stop your watering several times, as needed, to allow the water to soak in.
- Get water right to the roots, by using a watering wand, with a shutoff, for small areas. For larger areas, drip irrigation or soaker hoses, under mulch, deliver water efficiently right to the roots.