Watering Recommendations

Recommendations for Watering Following a Seeding to Maximize Results:

Despite common misconceptions, high quality grass seed is one of the costliest products we as lawn care professionals can apply to your lawn, and as a result, a service that is a true investment in your home and property.  Because of this, we want you to be able to maximize your results and have this service provide you with a beautiful thick green long that will last for years to come.  The thicker your result, the better your lawn will also be able to fight off weeds and insects moving forward.  Another misconception is how fast grass seed germinates and grows.  The higher quality the grass seed, the more root development there is, and the longer it takes for you to see the grass blade break the surface.  So, quality grass seed takes longer to grow than inexpensive seed purchased at local retailers and home garden centers.

The trick to getting your lawn to grow in properly is water.  Water is what makes grass seed germinate.  And once wet, it takes time for the seed to begin to grow.  Once it does start to germinate below the soil, we don’t want it to stop.  Therefore, while watering every other day, and allowing the lawn to dry in between, is preferred during hot Summer months to control disease pressure, the cool temperatures during seeding season allow us to work on keeping the top inch of soil most 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 3 to 4 weeks.  Now it’s a balance and there is some art to it and some involvement that you as the homeowner must monitor.  Too little water and the seed will stop germinating between watering, delaying growth and severely inhibiting your results. Too much water and you get puddles, preventing necessary oxygen from penetrating the soil and killing any newly germinated grass plants, also reducing results.  The trick is to water several times a day (we recommend 10am and 2pm) for 3-5 min.  You want the top damp, cool to the touch, but not wet.  No puddling, and no soft soil leaving footprints.  That’s it.  Follow these simple guidelines and our Power Seeding will achieve 80%-90% the results of sod for less than 10% of the cost.


Recommendations for Watering During the Lawn Care Season:

What is the best way to water your lawn?  That’s a question that if you search the internet will yield a multitude of opinions.  However, at Lawn*Doctor of Long Island, we prefer to make recommendations based more on facts and results, than opinion.  Your lawn is a living thing, and it’s outside 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Water is vital to your lawns health and just like a person or pet, the amount of water it requires increases as temperatures increase.  In our office, we like to use the analogy that “you would drink more water if you were outdoors exercising in July than in April.”  That statement is a simple summary of the situation that many people don’t realize.  Also, there’s no simply answer you can give a client due to the multitude of factors that affect each person’s property.  Every irrigation system is different, water pressure could vary, sun exposure, soil composition, etc.  The list goes on.  So we like to recommend a general starting point and give our clients advice on how to customize their watering routine for their specific property.

So, as a starting point, water every other day only between the hours of 2am and 10am.  Water 20 minutes when the temperatures are in the 60s (generally before Memorial Day), 30 minutes when they’re in the 70s (generally between Memorial Day and Independence Day), 40 minutes when in the 80s (generally between Independence Day and Labor Day) and 50 minutes when we have sustained 90 degree weather that lasts more than two days (generally late July and August).  Now, these recommendations are for rotating sprinkler heads that most of us have on our lawns.  If you have sections with mist heads, they put out substantially more water over less square footage, so cut the times in half.  Tree and shrub zones also require half as much water due to the plant’s ability to store water (grass cannot) and their more extensive root system that can find moisture much deeper down than grass plants.

Now, for the customization part.  Once you set your system, walk your lawn periodically.  Make sure that it’s dry to the touch at dinner time on a watering day.  If it’s damp, then it’s too much water.  Turn that zone down by 5 minute increments until you reach a point where it’s dry at 5pm.  If you see foot prints in a green lawn, or brown in high stress areas such as around a tree, or along pavement, go up 5 minutes in that zone.

Now, for those clients that have not yet invested in permanent, in ground irrigation, you are going to need to water using some type of above ground sprinkler.  The best recommendation we have is a sprinkler that can be set on a faucet mounted timer, and can move along the hose (it’s called walking, but it’s really rolling).  That way, you can set the timer to run early in the am while you’re asleep and water pressure is good, and can move across the lawn without you having to manage it.  It takes the work out of the process and dramatically improves results.  These types of sprinklers are available online and can be purchased, along with the faucet mounted timer, for under $100 total.  Ask us about it and we can give you more specifics on online sites to purchase, brands and how to use and set up.

At times, clients may experience moss or mushrooms that is a side effect of too much water but isn’t directly related to watering.  If you’re experiencing any of these problems, contact our office and we’d be happy to discuss this with you further.

A client that understands the needs of watering, and proactively works to get comfortable making periodic adjustments, will often achieve their desire results more quickly and be more satisfied with the overall condition of their lawn.