Techniques for Watering Grass

The obvious objective for lawn watering is to provide the maximum amount of moisture to enable the plant root system to thrive. Too little water is stressful to the grass and too much is wasting a valuable resource.

Here are a few simple lawn watering techniques. An in-ground sprinkler system if managed properly is one of the best ways to accomplish lawn watering to maximize growth and reduce water usage, however the expense of installing the system is high and most people use above ground sprinklers. This article is oriented to the use of above ground sprinklers.

There are several types of above ground sprinklers available. Basically they are the rotary type which covers a circular pattern, the oscillating type the moves back and forth or the soaker hose type that delivers water about three feet on each side of the line where the hose is laid. For a yard that is relatively square the oscillating sprinkler or soaker hose might deliver the best performance. For irregular shaped lawns the rotary type sprayer may be the most effective. In many cases a combination of the three will probably be best to insure that adequate moisture is delivered to the turf.

One has to experiment with location of sprinklers to achieve the maximum benefit. One way to insure that adequate water is being delivered is to place a few small cans (tuna fish or cat food), in different locations under the watering pattern and monitor how long it takes for the can to collect about a ½ inch of water. Grass generally requires about one inch per week of water to maintain a healthy root system and appearance. The edges of the spray pattern is where the least amount of water is generally delivered, so this is the area that requires special attention and may require some experimentation to insure effectiveness. When possible, one should insure that the water is sprayed in the lowest arc possible to minimize evaporation or the possibility of wind drift that will not benefit the area being watered. Watering in the early morning hours is best for this reason and a myriad of other reasons to promote a healthy lawn.

Taking a few minutes in the early spring to develop the best pattern for delivering adequate supplies of water to a lawn will reduce the effort involved and will reward the homeowner with a healthy and good looking lawn.


  1. Allison says:

    My biggest concern is finding a sprinkler that will last longer than one season. By then they leak like crazy and don’t oscilate as they should. Anyway, here’s a link I found with some info on good watering techniques.

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