Spring will be here before you know it, which is why we want to talk about how watering new lawns is very different from watering grass in an established lawn. Interested in growing a new lawn the organic way? Here is how it works with Heidelberg Farms.
Watering new lawns from seed
For seeds to germinate, the soil needs to be consistently moist and soil temperatures must be in the right range. While germination times vary with different species, most lawn seeds will germinate within 4 for the annual variety to 21 days perennial.
When watering new lawns, the best way to keep the seed moist is to lightly sprinkle the seeded area of the lawn at least two to three times each day. Care must be taken to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out, as the seeds could perish if they are allowed to dry once the germination process has begun.
Your lawn could require more frequent watering depending on the soil type, weather, temperature, or wind. Sandy soils retain less water than loamy or clay soils. The best way to improve all soil types is to add compost.
Newly planted grass seeds need to be watered every day to keep young seedlings moist for best results. You do not want to have these tender seedlings dry out after they have germinated. After a few weeks, reduce watering to 2 to 3 times each week. Once you start to mow these new areas, the lawn requires about once inch of water during the growing season. Remember, a lot of this moisture can come from the soil, which is why soil health is more important (see our other blogs!).
Established lawns only need one inch of water weekly—whether from rainfall or irrigation. However, the grass roots can draw a lot of soil moisture during normal spring and fall weather patterns. It’s not necessary to water lawns and plants every day, though. Depending on conditions, you may or may not need to water your yard throughout the summer. This also depends on your expectations.
Cool season lawns grow when the temperature is cool and there is plenty of moisture. In the very heat of summer, your lawn goes dormant. Dormant grass will look yellow and “dead,” but will turn green once rain returns.
It is best to water new lawns or established ones in the early hours of the day—anywhere from 4 am to 10 am. The cooler morning temperatures reduce evaporative loss and reduce the amount of water needed.
Watering new lawns too much
Homeowners with irrigation systems tend to over water their lawns. They think that more water is better and that it will make the lawn grow greener. Usually, this is not the case, though. Remember, too much of a good thing is not so good. The idea here is sustainability and stewardship of the land. We have a responsibility to the earth, wildlife and people around us.
How long should I water my lawn?
You should water your lawn when necessary. Water infrequently—20 to 30 minutes per area, 1 to 2 times per week as needed. During hot, dry weather, this frequency may be 3 to 4 times a week. Improving the soil and supporting root development should be the primary goal for all grasses and plants. Heidelberg Farms recommends topdressing with compost, Neptune’s Harvest seaweed fertilizer or kelp meal for drought resistance and Mycorrhizae fungi. Mow at a height—approximately 3 inches—that maximizes water conservation.
Watering new lawns or established ones takes a little patience and some planning, but if you take care to keep sustainability in mind, you will be part of a greater movement. Let’s take care of the earth together.
Have plans for a new lawn this spring? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919 today!