Anyone familiar with plants or gardening knows that in general, plants need three things: water, sunlight, and nutritious soil. However, the balance between those three elements can get quite specific, and if it is thrown off can lead to disease or worse for your plants. Grass is no different, and because you can't bring your lawn inside for the cold months, proper year-round care is essential. We've put together a quick guide on how best to water your lawn for all four seasons of the year.
The unfortunate thing about nature is that it isn't always consistent or dependable. Especially down here in Georgia, where it could by 65 degrees and rainy one day, and a positively arid 90 degrees the next. While your grass, like most plants, has its own defense mechanisms to keep it relatively healthy even in dry conditions, only a lawn with a careful and consistent watering schedule will be at its most green and strong. Lawns turn brown, thin out, and run into more disease and insect problems when under water stress. A thin, water-stressed lawn also creates room for weeds to invade. So whether you use underground or portable sprinklers, there are a few basic guidelines to follow to avoid these problems and maintain good lawn health.
Did you know that water evaporates even at room temperature? Water molecules will traditionally have enough heat energy to break their intermolecular bonds to other water molecules, leading to water becoming vapor at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. However, heat energy is not the only kind of energy that water molecules can muster to break those bonds, and as a result water is constantly transitioning between its gaseous and liquid states to create our water cycle.
When watering during high-temperature, high-sunlight periods of the day, the rate of evaporation is much higher. In fact, in some cases a significant amount of water can be lost to evaporation before it even has a chance to touch your grass! By making sure to water in the morning, before the sun is at its full power, you can count on a better rate of absorption.
Spring season watering can be trickier than summer watering, because the rate of absorption is much higher than the rate of evaporation in the cooler months. Keep an eye on your lawn to ensure that it is hydrated, and only water it when it truly needs water. Overwatering a cool lawn can create a breeding ground for fungus which can destroy a cohesive, green lawn.
During the summer, it's important to be consistent and to water in a way that truly saturates your roots. Neglecting to water often, or watering too shallow will result in the grass roots traveling toward the top of your soil, weakening the structure of your grass and exposing the roots to disease.
During the fall, the strategy for watering revolves around the ramp-down. Continue to water and mow your lawn normally, being careful not to overwater as the weather becomes colder. Once the first freezes start to occur, stop watering altogether. Water will not penetrate frozen ground, so it's best to prevent any fungal build-up.
Generally, once the first freeze has happened and temperatures are in the low 30's in the evenings, there should be no more watering taking place. Be sure to keep an eye on temperatures once winter begins to transition into spring, and begin the cycle anew!