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Watering Lawns in Summer

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Water is the elixir of all life on earth. In the heart of the American summer, water becomes the paramount issue in lawn care. Surprisingly, most people kill off their lawns through over watering during the hot summer.

We waste a lot of ground water through run-off from poor, hard soils or by simply watering the lawn in the afternoon heat, when it evaporates before the soil can absorb it. Knowing when to water your grass, how often, and how much can help you maintain a luxuriant lawn through the hottest season.
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Diagnose Your Lawn

Not all lawns need the same amount of water. It's important to know that your lawn's health depends as much on soil conditions as on the kind of seed you use.

In worst-case water-shortage scenarios, Centipede grass, Bermuda grass, and Bahia and St. Augustine grasses have relatively modest needs. These varieties, depending on summer temperatures, can actually survive quite well if left unwatered up to three weeks -- not that you need to wait that long.

Carpet Grass, Tall Fescue, Fine Fescue, Kikuyu, and Zoysia grass are moderately tolerant. If you've planted any of these grasses, you can stop watering for a week without damaging your lawn.  

Kentucky blue grass, Bent grass, and Perennial rye grass are guzzlers. Don't let them go without water for more than four or five days in hot weather.

Watering Depth and Lawn Health

Thatch thickness and soil composition really can determine whether your water will penetrate the roots of your lawn or simply run off or evaporate without doing much good. Thatch can create a vicious cycle: More than a half inch of thatch will thicken from over watering while keeping water from reaching healthy grass roots during critical growing seasons.

Watering at daybreak can be up to ten times more effective as any other time of day, so start early, before the heat of the day can burn the water off.  


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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