How to Tell if Your Lawn needs More Water

Did you know that an easy way to judge if a lawn needs to be watered is if footprints stay in the grass for several minutes? Or, insert a screwdriver or other lawn tool into the surface. If you can easily insert the tool it means your yard has adequate moisture. If you face some resistance, then the ground needs additional watering.

Water is a vital natural resource in the Treasure Valley, and communities are growing increasingly concerned about conserving water. With simple gardening and lawn care habits, you can nurture healthy lawns and beautiful gardens that make the best use of your water.

One general rule of thumb is to make sure established lawns get at least 1 inch of water a week. If you water for longer, less frequent periods of time it will help the lawn absorb water deeper into the roots. Put out a shallow pan or a rain gauge the next time you water to determine how much water your lawn actually receives. Fix irrigation systems with broken or misdirected sprinkler heads to maximize water use. Grass also wilts when it’s thirsty, so watch it.  If your grass isn’t wilting, wait for rain to water your lawn.

Mowing and feeding your lawn can also help keep it healthy. Put the mower blade on a higher setting, because longer grass blades promote deeper roots to help retain moisture. When you fertilize, keep it on the lawn and out of the gutters to protect streams and other waterways. A healthy, dense lawn crowds out weeds that steal nutrients from the grass.

The best time to water is early morning, when the temperature keeps evaporation low and more water reaches your grass. Water the lawn every two to four days, but don’t over water – 10 to 15 minutes increments are good – and remember to move the sprinkler around to reach all areas.