Proper watering techniques and practices, along with proper mowing, are critical to maintaining the health and appearance of your lawn. Improper watering practices promote a shallow root system and helps promote lawn disease outbreaks. The entire key to watering your turf properly is the regulation of the amount of water your turf receives. Measure the amount of water applied to your lawn from the irrigation source during a 20 to 30 minute time period. Use a collection device such as rain gauge or tuna can to collect water applied. Adjust the runtime to deliver the proper and required amount of water.
1) Water your lawn when it shows signs of dryness. Such signs are grass blades showing a faded color or turf does not bounce back when walked on, but instead lies flat. If a sharp object such as a screw driver has difficulty penetrating the soil, then it is time to water.
2) Deep water so that it reaches the root zone. Desired amount of water applied should be to about 1 inch below the root zone. This encourages deep root growth. Use a screw driver to poke the soil to make sure the water is being absorbed into the root zone. Water 20 to 30 minutes per station on rotors and 10 minutes for pop ups as a general guideline.
3) Avoid light and frequent (daily) wattering activity. Light and frequent watering discourages a deep root zone and promotes lawn diseases. Water 3 times per week to keep lawn a healthy color. In hotter months more water may be needed. Reduce watering days as it rains during the week.
4) Water only during the early morning hours (4am to 8am). If the entire turf area cannot be watered during these hours (large lawns with many zones), split the zones to water on alternate days. Watering earlier can lead to fungus problems while later in the day does little good.
5) On days over 90 degress, a cool down period of 5 to 10 minutes per zone is permissible bewtween the hours of 4pm to 6pm. Try not to do this every day, but instead use alternate days. For example, on days when you have watered in the morning don't also use the cool down technique. However, during periods of no rain and excessive heat you may have to use the cool down technique more often.
6) Check your irrigation system on a regular basis to make sure it is properly functioning.
These are general guidelines. Questions are always welcome.