Knowing Your Lawn
Many people in Central Florida overwater their lawns believing they are helping the plants cope with Florida’s high temperatures; however, they do not take into consideration the humidity (which helps to hold moisture in the air, soil, and plants), and the frequent summer rainfalls.
Establishing New Sod
Using too much water could actually harm your lawn by causing fungus and promoting a shallow root system. You need the deeper root system to help the grass cope with periods of drought.
Consider that in June, July, August, and September of a typical year we get over six inches of rainfall each month and the lawn only needs approximately one inch per week (or four inches for each of those months). Additional watering by irrigation is usually not necessary during this time, and certainly not twice a week.
In late fall and winter, the temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter. This means our lawns require less water to remain healthy.
Here is an irrigation plan that is recommended by irrigation and landscape experts:
Water the lawn only when it is dry.
Give it a deep soaking.
Wait until the grass is dry before watering again.
This kind of watering promotes long and healthy roots that are less susceptible to insect and fungus problems and periods of drought. Frequent and shallow watering trains the grass roots to stay near the surface of the soil, making them more susceptible to lawn pests, heat, and drought.
Contact Orange County Extension Services at 407-254-9200 to get more information about water conservation and your landscape or click here for the UF/IFAS Living Green website.
Avoid cutting grass too short. Only trim the top third of the grass blades when you mow. This helps the grass to develop a deeper root system, and greater tolerance to drought, poor soil conditions, nutrient deficiencies, and traffic.
If you have dry patches in your lawn, it could possibly be because your irrigation system is not covering those areas completely. Many people overcompensate for poor coverage of the sprinkler heads by watering longer and more days.
Orange County Utilities can schedule a free audit of your irrigation system to determine if there is any inefficiency that needs correcting.
Click here to see if you qualify for a free irrigation audit.