Quick Tip: How Much Should I water my Gainesville Lawn in Summer?

Are you tired of brown spots in your lawn? or is your grass receeding rather than spreading? In most cases, improper irrigation lies at the root of the problem. I always get asked about proper watering and how homeowners can be sure they're watering enough - especially in Summer. We broke it down in the simplest way possible, but please realize we are dealing with lots of variables.

There are three simple characteristics of an irrigation timer's settings for: Frequency, Duration, and Start Time. If these three items are being properly attained, then the resulting turfgrass will be thick, strong, green, and vigorous, and will help repel lawn-damaging insects, weeds, and disease more easily.

The University of Florida states: “A properly irrigated grass plant is better able to withstand pressure from weeds and insects. Weed problems in a lawn indicate that the turf has been weakened by improper management practice. Proper management practices can eliminate most weed problems.”

Proper irrigation system maintenance in addition to a standardized Turf Treatment Program will provide optimal results for a lush and healthy Gainesville lawn.

[Frequency] - How Often Should I Run My Irrigation System? 

For an already healthy lawn, 2-3 times per week*. During the summer months, a healthy St. Augustine lawn can only go 2 to 5 days between irrigation events, based on the heat and humidity. Weakened turf needs to be irrigated more often due to the lack of deep roots.
*Always follow Local and State laws in regards to watering restrictions. As of January 2013, Gainesville residents can use automatic sprinklers 2x/ week, unless there have been new sod or plants installed. Hand-watering hot spots or weak lawns may be necessary. Hand-watering is NOT prohibited, so long as it is after 6pm or before 8am.

[Duration] - How Long Should I Water For? 

Spray Zones at 25 minutes, Rotor Zones at 45 minutes.
The exact answer to this question is “½ to ¾ inch of water per irrigation event” (UF IFAS, 1999), but depth is much harder to determine than duration.
In an irrigation system with optimal pressure coverage, the sprinkler run times listed above should provide the correct depth of watering. Please realize though that there are several different environmental factors that can change this. For example, if a part of your lawn is in deep shade, consistently struggles with fungus, or is a low-lying area that holds water, reduce the suggested times. Also, if an area of your lawn is in full sun, has sandy soil, or has newer sod, increasing these times may be neccessary.

If you are following the above Frequency and Duration and still have “hot spots,” you may need to have your Sprinkler System checked by a professional. It is important to adjust your sprinkler system seasonally, because lawn watering requirements vary throughout the year.

[Start Time] - When Should I Water My Lawn? 

The best time is in the early morning hours (4:00am to 6:00am), prior to the dew.

Watering in the evening may be detrimental if it leaves the lawn wet for hours on end, which may accelerate lawn fungus issues. Watering during the day wastes water due to excessive evaporation from the sun.