Landscape Watering Guide
Please note this article pertains to established lawns, not newly planted ones. An established lawn should be watered three times per week, for a total of one inch of water. This depends on several factors:
- Rainfall. Sprinkling systems are to supplement rainfall. After an extensive rainfall, the ground may be saturated and will not need watering for a week. Only water if you see signs of dryness.
- Sun exposure. Part of the lawn with a strong southern exposure may need up to two inches of water per week; a northern or shady exposure may need little additional watering.
- Soil conditions. Some types of soil hold water better than others. Sandy soil may need 2 inches per week. However, the most common type of soil in the Houston area is clay, which, because of its tight structure, compacts easily and does not hold water well. Clay becomes saturated quickly and should be watered for a shorter time but more frequently.
Many people over water their lawn, so we will go through a few steps that will help prevent this.
Calibrate the sprinkler system.
To understand how much water your system is sending, place several cans around the lawn. Turn on the system and not how long it takes to accumulate an inch of water in each can. If the accumulation is uneven, have the sprinkler heads checked.
Establish a baseline for your lawn.
- Do not water your lawn for about a week. The soil should be dry.
- Turn on the sprinkler system and let it run. Note the time.
- When the water begins puddling or running, the soil in that area will be saturated. Watering longer after these effects occur will result in over watering.
Set the sprinkler system timer.
- Use the results of the above two tests to determine the total duration of watering needed in a week and the number of watering intervals required.
- Water in the early evening. Water evaporation will be minimized.
- Alternatively, water just before you get up in the morning; this takes advantage of higher nighttime water pressure.
- Follow all restrictions and do not over water.