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Simple Lawn Watering Guide for Utah Lawns

Rule of Thumb: Lawns in Utah generally require at least 1 to 2 inches of water per week in spring and fall and 2.5 to 3 inches of water per week in summer.

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WATERING IN 70 TO 80 DEGREE WEATHER

  • Water 2 to 3 times per week.
  • Set watering time to achieve half an inch of water per station each time you water.
  • For fan style pop-up spray heads, like the one pictured here, the average time is 15 to 25 minutes per station (your watering time could vary dramatically).
  • Rotary head style systems, the far-shooting rotating kind, average 30 to 40 minutes per station (your watering time could vary dramatically).
  • Follow the watering guide below to determine your exact watering time.

 

WATERING IN 90 TO 100+  DEGREE WEATHER

  • Water 3 to 4 times per week.
  • Set watering time to achieve 1/2 – 3/4 inch of water per station per day.
  • For fan style pop-up spray heads, the average time is 25 to 35 minutes per station (your watering time could vary dramatically).
  • Rotary-style systems average 40 to 60+ minutes per station (your watering time could vary dramatically).
  • Follow the watering guide below to determine your exact watering time.
  • Alert! You will most likely need to hand water some areas – your automated system will not be able to uniformly cover all areas in this heat.  if you only increase your watering time you will drastically over water some areas and probably still have some dry, dead spots to deal with.

 

WATERING GUIDE: HOW TO DETERMINE WATERING TIME PER STATION

  1. Set out flat-bottomed containers at various locations on the lawn, both in the healthy areas and in the brown areas (a tuna can works well for this purpose).
  2. Turn the sprinkler system on and run it for a set amount of time (usually for a complete cycle, but a shorter period of time works).
  3. Measure the amount of water accumulated in each container (a tuna can is one inch tall).
  4. Multiply that by the number of times you water each week.  That will give you the total inches of water you use per week.
  5. Adjust accordingly.  By placing containers in browning areas as well as green areas, you can determine if there is a need to adjust certain sprinklers to get better coverage.

 

weed free lawnQUICK RULES OF THUMB

  • Rotary nozzle style heads that shoot over a long distance require a much longer watering time than pop-up fan spray heads.  They are also more affected by wind and water pressure.
  • Wind and water pressure change with the time of day.   This can seriously affect your water coverage (morning is often the windiest time and has the lowest water pressure).
  • More people watering in the high heat months means less water pressure (one reason why you will need to supplement with some hand-watering).
  • In the spring and mid-season, you may need to clean the filters in your sprinkler system, including the ones on individual heads.
  • Soil Compaction:  Hard compacted soil will not allow water to penetrate.  Compaction is usually not uniform, so water will run off the compacted areas and soak into the more porous soil.  This will cause dead spots and over-watered grass right next to each other. If your soil is compacted, aeration can help loosen it.

 

SIGNS OF A DRY LAWN – BEFORE IT TURNS BROWN

  • Your footprints will remain visible in the grass after you walk across it. Dry grass won’t spring up quickly; it will remain flat.
  • The grass will start to have a bluish/gray color to it. This is one of the first signs of watering problems.
  • Grass blades will fold along the center vein and look thin and needlelike.  Well watered grass will be wide and flat.
  • The soil must be wet or moist at all times – It can never be dry or dusty, not even for a day.  If you can’t pinch the soil into a moist ball, it is too dry.

 

HOW TO WATER AFTER OVER-SEEDING OR RESODDING

  • You need to keep the soil wet after overseeding or resodding to help encourage growth.
  • Water daily until the roots are well-established, usually about 10 to 14 days after planting.
  • Once the grass has taken root, return to a deep watering schedule (2 or 3 times a week for longer periods of time)

 

HOW TO WATER AFTER MOWING

  • You can water directly after mowing if you prefer, or you can water the day before or after mowing.
  • Make sure you don’t water directly before mowing because the grass will be too difficult to cut.
  • Keep your lawn slightly longer in the summer to help keep the grassroots cooler.

 

WATERING LAWN IN FALL

  • Continue watering your lawn about 2 to 3 times a week while temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees (1 to 2 inches a week).
  • When temperatures start to fall below 70 degrees, water 1 or 2 times a week (at least 1 inch of water a week).
  • Once the weather turns cold enough, you can stop watering because the lawn will start to go dormant.
  • Keep your water on until the forecast warns of below-freezing temperatures.
  • Turn off your watering system right before temperatures reach freezing.

 

BEST TIME OF DAY TO WATER

  • Watering in the morning is good because the grass blades have time to dry.
  • You can also water in the late afternoon as long as the grass has a chance to dry before temperatures cool down.
  • Don’t water at night because the grass blades will stay wet longer, making the lawn more susceptible to fungal infections (cool, wet conditions are ideal for fungi).
  • Don’t water when it’s windy outside.

Check out our video for more watering tips from our lawn specialist: