We all know the significant role of water in maintaining a healthy lawn. The problem with lawn watering is that it could be time-consuming and requires physical labor if you are using a hose.
Thankfully, you can spare yourself from this trouble by lawn watering using a sprinkler system. But this leads to a big questions, how often should I Water My Lawn With Sprinkler System and how long should i leave the sprinkler on?
The simple answer to that is 2 to 3 deep watering sessions on a weekly basis are preferable than daily short watering. In this way, you can ensure the soil gets soaked deeper, prompting grass roots to grow deeper into the soil.
Yet, you should take into consideration other aspects involved in recommended sprinkler run times such as how long should sprinklers run in each zone, when to stop watering, and the ideal time to water lawn.
Sounds something you should know? We’ll go through them one by one.
The Significance of Lawn Watering Using a Sprinkler System
- Reasonably priced and easy to install. A timer could be set to release water at certain time intervals on your preferred days.
- Accurate water measurement is stress-free.
- Some sprinkler systems are designed to distribute weed-prevention products and fertilizer to a lawn.
- Convenient automation and mechanization. You can position the sprinkler system to where you want to directly shoot water. Nozzles can also be adjusted while underground drip tubes can provide water right to the roots, rather than spraying driveways or walkways.
- A sprinkler system is commonly concealed, meaning no tripping hazards or no unsightly hoses stretched across the lawn. Sprinkler heads pop up to release water and then pull back when the spraying is completed.
- Less land loss and less intervention with cultivation.
- A frequent and high application can be excellently attained.
The Best Time to Water Grass Using a Sprinkler System
Some people prefer watering their lawn early in the morning or at dusk. Others do the chore late at night once they return from work or school.
In reality, the ideal time to water your lawn in any method is early in the morning to enable plants to get more moisture.
Basically, air temperatures are lowest in the mornings and evenings. Water evaporates too quickly in the middle of the day.
Also, the wind blows too much during late evenings.The lack of blowing wind and cooler temperature make sure the water droplets remain on the leaves longer and saturate the soil more effectively.
Water droplets tend to stick to grass blades well during the late evening. This can cause serious lawn problems. For instance, fungi get the optimum conditions needed for their production.
Therefore, lawn watering using a sprinkler system during late evenings could kill your grass. It is better to water your lawn early in the morning, usually between 04:00 to 10:00.
If you think it’s impossible to commit to those times, there are instances when you can water your lawn during the weekend.
How often should I Water my Lawn with Sprinkler System
The dryness of the soil determines whether your lawn needs water. Humidity, air temperature, rainfall, the type of soil, and wind speed affect soil moisture.
There’s a simple rule that both experienced gardeners and homeowners usually follow about lawn watering using a sprinkler system: deeply and thoroughly, yet infrequently. Commonly, it’s leaving the sprinkler system on for 8 minutes, three times a week.
But if you have high efficiency, yet low-flow rotator head sprinklers, then you can operate your sprinkler system for 30 minutes a day, three days per week.
As a general instruction, wet the soil to a depth of five inches. Water your lawn using a sprinkler system and check how deep the water goes into the soil in about 30 minutes.
how long should i leave the sprinkler on
Doing calculations is another convenient way to know when to stop lawn watering using a sprinkler system. This is because the flow rate or gallons per minute is accessible from the system.
First, you have to multiply your lawn’s square footage by 0.62 gallons, which equates to 1 inch of water per square foot.
Next, divide the result by the rate of the sprinkler flow. The final result is the number of minutes you need to keep your sprinkler system open to water lawn.
It’s simpler when you have a flat grass lawn, since you can conveniently divide it to 5 to 7 zones and water each zone for each day of the week. In this manner, you ensure good coverage and would only need to keep the sprinklers on for at least 8 minutes.
For example, an average 50 x 50 foot or a 2,500 square feet lawn could be divided by 500 square feet. Meaning, it will only take 5 days for you to cover each 500 square feet zone.
Furthermore, you must seek assistance when directing the sprinkler heads to certain parts of your lawn. Calculate the entire sprinkler system to prevent exceeding the maximum flow rate and water pressure of your home’s water line.
However, this may not apply to every lawn, so you must watch out for obvious visual signs that your lawn needs water, like leaves starting to look narrow.
how long should sprinklers run in each zone?
No doubt, lawn watering using a sprinkler system finishes the job faster and less complicated. To optimize this method, you must assign zones to your lawn.
A zone allows you to maximize water distribution with accuracy on a weekly basis. Usually, there are differences in the amount of water for each zone.
The Amount of Water Needed When Lawn Watering Using a Sprinkler System
Gardening experts suggest saturating the soil with 8 to 12 inches of water. You will need a little over half a gallon or 0.62 gallons to give water to a square foot of lawn.
New plants require more water than established ones. Water new grass once or twice a day for the first week, then once weekly after that for the first growing season. Moreover, a zone normally consumes 10 to 15 gallons of water per minute.
The objective is to water deeply using a sprinkler system. Also, avoid frequent light watering, which only discourages deep root growth.
Be Mindful About Overwatering
Overwatering can waterlog your lawn or run off the soil without soaking in. It’s ideal to put a rain gauge when you water if you are unsure how much water equates to 1 inch.
When to Stop Watering Your Lawn Using a Sprinkler System
The soil of your lawn is comprised of clay particles, silt, sand, and porous spaces. Too much water, or even rain, can fill those porous spaces by pushing the air out.
Hence, lawn watering using a sprinkler system on a daily basis fills pores with water instead of oxygen, which is essential to the growth of your grass.
You will be left with a very shallow root system when the roots suffocate and die due to lack of oxygen.
This is why it’s advisable to water each zone on a different day per week to avoid overwatering, yet ensuring you cover the whole lawn.
It’s not enough that you lawn water using a sprinkler system for a number of minutes and then leave it be. Make it a habit to monitor if your lawn received a sufficient amount of water.
Do this by digging a screwdriver or anything that can serve as a probe into the soil. The probe must pierce easily into your lawn if the soil is well moist.
You should know if your lawn almost certainly requires more water if you encounter resistance.
Remember, lawn watering using a sprinkler system even when the soil is moist enough is a waste of money and electricity.
Reduce Moisture Loss by Cutting Grass
Did you know that taller grass stays green for long than shorter ones? It’s because tall grass cools and shades your lawn, keeping more moisture in the soil.
This is helpful in cutting down intervals in lawn watering using a sprinkler system.
Amount of Water Per Week
The Cost of Lawn Watering Using a Sprinkler System
The price of using a sprinkler system to water lawn depends primarily on how big your lawn is and the components to construct your system.
It includes knowing how many pipes need to be laid or the required number of sprinkler heads. You must also calculate the possible expenses for securing plumbing connection and automatic control.
A Little Reminder…
Watering could sometimes be a complex thing due to several factors.
Once you’ve identified the factors that will impact your lawn, you can then rely on lawn watering using a sprinkler system.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.