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Effective, Efficient Watering Plans for Your Lawn

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Since no two lawns in the same neighborhood grown from the same grass seed are alike, it can be tricky fine-tuning your watering routine from a standardized lawn-care guide. Soil factors, topography, and exposure to sun and wind all affect your lawn's performance during the spring and summer months. If there's one thing to remember, it's that watering frequency is never as vital as watering depth.

A once-weekly deep watering that penetrates into the soil from four to six inches can do more good for thirsty grass than daily sprinkling.  In hot weather, lawns typically need at least an inch of water per week.  If it's hot and dry, rye and bluegrass varieties need more like 2.25 inches of water per week
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Fescue lawns (turf-type varieties) may live on less water than bluegrass, but they won't necessarily thrive. On the other hand, native varieties like buffalograss are real survivors in drought conditions. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends that you lay a one-inch-deep empty can from pet food or tuna fish on your lawn while watering; when it's full, you're done. But if you have a lot of runoff and poor drainage, your measurements may be far from adequate.

Watering Lawns into the Root Zone

Most lawn-care experts impress the need to saturate the root zone of your lawn -- an area that depends on the kind of grass seed you've chosen, the arable quality of your soil, and the thickness of your layer of thatch. It might pay off in the long run to have a lawn-care service out to your home to test your soil, do an annual aeration to promote root saturation, and to assess your optimal watering requirements. Water early in the day, as infrequently if possible, and deep into the roots.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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