How Often Should I Water My Lawn with a Sprinkler System

How Often Should I Water My Lawn with a Sprinkler System

Lawn maintenance has to be done regularly to maintain beautiful grass. A healthy lawn absorbs noise, generates oxygen, absorbs rainfall, prevents runoff or erosion, purifies water, captures pollutants, and provides a safe surface for activities. However, without maintenance, diseases can pose a threat to the health and stability of your lawn.

Such diseases are prevalent in warm, mild, and cold weather conditions. Also, your lawn is always at risk of insects destroying it if a lawn does not get enough and regular care. One component of lawn maintenance is regularly using a sprinkler system. The following guide will provide you with information to make decisions about your lawn watering schedule and routine.

Benefits of a Well Maintained Lawn

A well-maintained lawn is increases curb appeal, offering a great first impression to guests and potential buyers. A healthy lawn also provides excellent soil erosion control and flood control, improves the quality of groundwater, and helps in heat dissipation and helps maintain temperature moderation in your yard. But how can you achieve a healthy lawn?

Fundamentals of Lawn Watering

There are a variety of sprinklers available on the market. Sprinklers make lawn watering efficient and straightforward as they soak your entire lawn. When your sprinkler system is operated at the correct time of day, the moisture will be absorbed into the ground as fast as it is applied.

It is essential to set a lawn watering schedule with the right adjustments and frequencies. During hot or humid conditions, a lawn needs more water since it is more exposed to the sun which can cause drought and provide a breeding ground for pests.

Lawn Watering With Oscillating Sprinkler

Oscillating sprinklers are typically fan-shaped with a broad base. They have a hollow bar perforated with holes covered in several water jets sitting on top of the lawn. They generate a spray that oscillates back and forth, providing enough water to cover a 20ft x 30ft rectangular area, distributing water in a fan motion.

Oscillating sprinklers spray water out in two ways, as the bar moves the water moves in an up and down motion, and in a fan shape around the area. But, how long should you water your lawn with an oscillating sprinkler?

Well, an oscillating sprinkler is most useful for large lawns. The amount of time varies by season and your grass type. As a rule, it is best to water your lawn with an oscillating sprinkler during the early morning hours to achieve the right amount of moisture absorption. It is advised to operate the sprinkler for one-two hours.

Installing a Sprinkler System

Installing a sprinkler system is an excellent investment in the long run and adds value to your property. Before installing, calculate the size of the lawn using a tape measure. In determining the coverage of the sprinklers, measure the water pressure first. Plot and draw on paper the locations of the sprinkler heads and mark it afterward.

Provide water for the system by connecting it to an existing spigot or into the main water-service line, as it requires the installation of an anti-siphon valve. This prevents chemicals and fertilizers from going through the main water supply.

Collect and choose the most suitable sprinkler heads based on the needs of the lawn itself. Flush water to clean out any debris inside the system before attaching the sprinkler heads and installing it. The sprinkler heads must be in the right soil level. A timer controls the frequency and length of watering.

A sprinkler system can help conserve water since the system can be set according to our preferences and can easily be adjusted for specific weather conditions. Customize the sprinkler system schedule according to its size, type, and shape.

Prevent using excessive amounts of water as this only costs more money. It is recommended for most residential owners to use a sprinkler system instead.

Sprinkler System Schedule

The most useful function of a good sprinkler system is the timer. You can set your system, from early morning hours to any time of the day. Commonly used timers are digital, yet some still use mechanical timers. Digital timers use electronic circuits while mechanical timers use gears and metal pins.

Carefully observe the sprinkler system after installing to identify and take action in problems. Check for misaligned sprinkler heads, leaking pipes, or blocked outlets even before regular maintenance.

Set the timer right by observing the following:

For Digital Timers:

  • Choose the right zone and create water schedules in each zone.
  • Set the current date and time.
  • Set the amount of time the valves need to stay open.
  • Select the days the sprinklers to come on.
  • Repeat the sequence for each zone.

For Mechanical Timers:

  • Push the brass pin into a hole next to the time watering should begin.
  • Do not skip a hole while pushing additional pins into the holes.
  • Leave an open hole in the timer if there is more than one zone in the sprinkler system.
  • Select the length of time by placing brass pins into the holes.
  • Set the current time by turning the yellow dial clockwise.
  • Turn the small black wheel to set daily watering schedule counterclockwise.
  • Set up each zone in the same manner.
  • Pins should be pressed down for no watering.
  • Turn sprinklers on and off by sliding the selector switch to “Auto”.
  • In every climate and season, it is important to remember to change the watering schedule. Less water is needed for plants during spring and fall, while a vast amount. of water is needed during summer than the rest of the warm months.

Sufficient Water for a Healthy Lawn

Encourage the roots to grow deeply by giving it the right amount of water that it needs. How much water does my lawn need? A way to know how much water a lawn needs is to test the soil. Use a soil sampling tube after the initial watering to see if it has moistened 2 inches down.

Another way to do this is to press a sharp metal wire until the dry part of the soil. This method helps us see how deep the soil became moist and if the soil is still dry, water it again for another hour to add an inch of water to the soil. Avoid watering shallowly as it keeps the roots of the grass short.

Watering deeply and thoroughly revitalizes grassroots to develop strong foundations below ground by running deep despite the changes in weather and possible infections.

A well-cultivated soil provides excellent drainage where the grass needs it most. Having poor soil and drainage causes waterlogging. Avoid shallow root systems as it weakens the whole lawn and dries out fast.

A lawn should be watered for about one inch per week, so how much water does my lawn need? The answer is that it usually takes up to 30 minutes to get a half inch of water. Watering 3 times per week equals to an inch of water on a lawn. Plants can be watered 1 to 2 times a week in seasons where there is a higher chance of rainfall and less evaporation.

Avoid or reduce runoff by dividing irrigation into at least 2 sessions with a 20-minute interval in between sessions. This allows the water to filter into the soil. Uniformly applying water helps the soil absorb the water at its own pace.

Watering every day is not advised. It should be done 2 to 3 times per week only to prevent a shallow root system. If possible, water during the early morning hours to ensure that the lawn dries entirely before nightfall. However, watering at any time of the day is better than not watering at all.

Morning, Afternoon, or Night Watering?

The best time for watering a lawn is during the morning since evaporation from the sun and wind is strongest during the afternoon hours which means less water goes into the lawn.

The sprinkler systems also experience low water pressure, and the wind might impede the distribution patterns of the machine. At night, grass tends to be damp because of dew and increases the chance for diseases. Through fertilizing and mowing, a disease can be prevented, then a night or afternoon watering.

Water grass between 6 am to 10 am early in the morning which is the coldest part of the day to reduce the chances of fungal problems and allow the water to soak within the day. On the contrary, watering when the sun is at its peak and temperatures are high means that water evaporates quickly rather than being absorbed.

Measure the Distribution of Water

Grass is a natural air filter of dirt and dust. Thick grasses that are watered at the right amount, on a regular schedule helps fight allergies and improves overall air quality around the house. Increase watering in the garden if ever the grass is getting brown or looking stressed.

Water output of every sprinkler has to be measured to calculate the amount of water that each sprinkler system puts out. Use of rain gauges by placing it close to a sprinkler while leaving the sprinkler system turned on operating at the right pressure for some time.

Transform your grass into a beautiful and healthy lawn by installing a sprinkler system that provides the most efficient way of watering and helps the grass get the hydration it needs without over-watering. Save time and money by watering on an automatic schedule.

Sara Butler

Sara Butler has written scores of articles for Lawn Love -- everything from how to revive your dead lawn to how to start to lawn care tools every homeowner should have.