Proper Lawn Watering

Lawn watering for Bermuda and St. Augustine are similar because they both are fairly drought resistant grasses. According to Texas Agricultural Extension Services: “To keep your lawn healthy, water it only when the grass needs it. When you do water, wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Don’t water again until the grass shows symptoms of drought stress–a dull bluish color, rolled or folded leaves, and persistent footprints. This usually occurs in 5 to 10 days, depending on the weather.” A good gauge is about 1 inch of water per week.

In order to determine how much water you are putting down and how long you need to water here are a few steps. First, you need to know how much water is being applied by either your sprinklers or hose watering. Second, a small knowledge of the soil is needed. Third, set the system to water and you’re done!

First: Use five or six opentop cans and place them randomly around the lawn. You can use tuna cans because they are wide. Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes. Use a ruler to measure the depth of the water in each can and record the depths. Calculate the average depth by adding all the depths together and dividing by the total number of cans. The average depth in inches is how much water your sprinklers or hose watering is putting down in 30 minutes.

Second: Using a garden spade, drive the spade down into the soil to determine how deep the soil is wet after 30 minutes of watering. Also, while doing step one, keep an eye on the ground to determine how much time passes before runoff starts to happen. If the water is to the point of runoff then it won’t penetrate the soil and is wasted.

After steps 1 and 2 you should know how long to water in order to get 1 inch of water and how deep the watering will go. For example, if you determined that in step one the sprinklers watered 0.5 inches in 30 minutes and the soil was wet three inches down. So this means your required watering would be 1 hour of water every 5 to 10 days. Now, if you determined that runoff started to occur after 10 minutes then this means you will need to water in 10 minute increments in order to achieve your goal of 1 hour watering.

Don’t let this be you. If you notice runoff happening continually, please adjust your sprinkler system accordingly or give us a call to make the necessary adjustments.

Third: Set the sprinkler system to water according to your findings. We found for our lawn that the sprinklers watered 0.5 inches in 30 minutes and that runoff started to occur after 20 minutes. So as a result we set the sprinklers to water 3 times for 20 minutes each on watering days but only during the morning and evening hours.

Hope this helps keep that lawn looking green in this Texas weather while not breaking the bank with your water bill. If you have questions or need help please feel free to comment below, visit our website: , or give us a call and we can point you in the right direction or set the sprinkler system for you.

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Originally published at on April 6, 2015.

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