Yard & Garden Report


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Watering Your Lawn

Measure one inch of water Lawns are turning yellow and going dormant. That’s perfectly all right. But if you want your lawn to stay green and growing, it needs water. It needs about one inch per week from you, rainfall or a combination of both.

Set a group of flat-bottomed cups at 5- to 10-foot intervals from the base of your sprinkler to the edge of its reach (see photo). Measure the time it takes for an inch of water to fall in the cups. Use this as your base time.

The roots of grass plants will grow where the water is. If you water deeply, the roots of your grass will grow deeply. Clay soils usually can absorb the full inch of water at one time.

Sandy soils usually cannot absorb a full inch; thus you need to split your applications into two or more sessions. Wait at least a couple days to allow the lawn to absorb the initial watering. This is also a good strategy if you ever see water running off from the lawn (for example, on a sloped landscape). We want the water to be absorbed and not to run off.

Irrigate in the morning. Do not irrigate during the afternoon or during windy weather since much of the water will be loss due to evaporation. 

You can help your lawn to conserve moisture by mowing tall and letting grass clippings fall. This will keep the soil shaded and cooler. 


Written by , Extension Agent, North Dakota State University. Published in NDSU Yard & Garden Report, June 9, 2017.

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